It is good news for some returning students of the Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM), even as others continue to complain about less than favourable living conditions.
Some returning students have reportedly got back their accommodation deposit, allowing them to now rent off-campus.
At the end of last year, Barbados TODAY first highlighted the plight of some returning students, who complained that besides paying between US$4,040 and US$4,840 per semester, they were disappointed at the apparent “mandatory” living arrangement, which gave them no opportunity to rent elsewhere.
Since then, some of the students have been informed via e-mail, that they had been reimbursed their accommodation deposit, and they could now live off-campus.
While that concern seemed to have been settled, some students who arrived in the island ahead of the opening of the university on January 5, were not pleased with the housing conditions and “last minute” changes.
Though they were generally pleased that Ross had a more permanent home and they were excited about being in Barbados, they complained to Barbados TODAY about the lack of readiness of the housing arrangement.
Prior to coming to Barbados the students had the option of choosing their roommates. However, a number of them told this newspaper that when they arrived they were “reassigned” while others were forced to stay at a hotel.
“It was chaotic,” said one student, who also grumbled about having “plastic furniture” and a “dusty house” that was “not tiled or carpeted”.
“These houses weren’t ready,” the student added.
Barbados TODAY understands that under the current lease arrangement, Coverley remains a landlord for the university, but the university is in turn the landlord for the students.
One official at the Villages at Coverley stated: “We delivered on everything that Ross asked us to deliver”, pointing out that any queries that students now have had to be dealt with by university officials.
Ross officials are adamant that students are generally happy with the living conditions, only telling Barbados TODAY that there were some minor external final touches that needed to be done to the housing units.
The university had promised that included in each unit would be a range of appliances including plates, glasses, cups, basic cooking utensil, pots and pans. However, some students complained bitterly about the lack of promised utensils adding that they had to also buy their own curtains. Some of the students visited the Popular supermarket in Kendall Hill, Christ Church last weekend where they compared prices and made some purchases.
“Even though we signed up to live with friends in a single housing unit, we were all split up,” said the student.
“The whole administration is a mess and it is obvious that everything was rushed. A lot of houses do not have working appliances or any of the amenities that we were promised. The worse part is that there is no transparency between the staff and the students,” said the student.
“If Ross did not force me to live in their complex, I could’ve had an entire house, which is identical to theirs, except there are actual tiles on the floor and the walls are sanded, in the same location, for less than what they are charging me for one month,” said one of the upset students.
This week, some students raised concern about the condition of the housing units, saying they were now having problems with “rabid bats”, that they said where entering through “cracks”.