Students accommodation

John Clark made this Freedom of Information request to St Mary's University, Twickenham

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Waiting for an internal review by St Mary's University, Twickenham of their handling of this request.

Dear St Mary's University, Twickenham,

1. Can you please tell me how many students you rented onsite accommodation to in the academic year 2019 - 2020?

2. How many students terminated their onsite accommodation licence agreement on the 8th April 2020?

Yours faithfully,

John Clark.

Dear St Mary's University, Twickenham,

The response to my request has been delayed. By law, St Mary's should normally have responded promptly and by 30 October 2020

Yours faithfully,

John Clark

Dear St Mary's University, Twickenham,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of St Mary's University, Twickenham's handling of my FOI request 'Students accommodation'.

This request is now long overdue, can you please answer this promptly.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/s...

Yours faithfully,

John Clark

John Clark left an annotation ()

When you look through the WDTK website it seems that St Mary’s University in Twickenham just ignore the FOI regulations. There are so many unanswered FOI's and internal reviews.

Is there reasonably justification for the ICO to investigate this public body?

Freedom of Information, St Mary's University, Twickenham

1 Attachment

Dear Sir

Please see the attached response to your FOI requests.

Yours faithfully

Andrew Browning
University Secretary and Head of Governance
Office of the Vice Chancellor
St Mary’s University, Waldegrave Road, TW1 4SX
020 8240 4267
07970 531112
[email address]

Dear Mr Browning

It is really disappointing that you have refused my freedom of information request(s) and I would like to appeal this decision.

Football and all other sports keep young people healthy, so any cuts that St Mary's University make to the provisions of any sport are detrimental to the health of young people. While non-elite sport isn't permitted currently (12/2/2021) due to the covid-19 pandemic, I'm sure you'll join me in a hoping for a prompt return to sport for all students soon. Your misconception that the number of football teams at the University seems to be personal in nature holds no validity, I'm simply attempting to understand your policy and why your University which is a sports University has cut down the provisions of sport for the less able but kept the provisions for better players. My interest in this matter extends to all students and this is my motivation.
As for you checking your records and not finding a student with my surname, I'm not sure of the importance of this point. I have a step-daughter attending your University that has a different surname to mine, so you wouldn't be able to check your records by that method. The fact that you have checked your records in itself troubles me, what this shows to me is that you would be looking to identify my step-daughter and potentially she could suffer some sort of detriment if she was identified. Can you please tell me your reasons for trying to identify my step-daughter?

You go on to say that I am attempting to swamp the University with requests, this is far from the truth. The fact is that I have filed a complaint on behalf of a student of yours with the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) it would seem that St Mary's University is less than forthcoming with information that is asked for by students, hence the need to use the FOI Act to obtain information.

The Act is a vital piece of legislation and my request(s) will assist the OIA in reaching their decision whether your University was correct to charge students for bedrooms up to the 8th April that they were told to vacate by your VC on the 24th March and charged for the use of the University gym that the government told you to close on the 18th March (the football teams request is to establish value for money for future students).

I am not in a position to comment as to how many other FOI requests that your University has received. It doesn't need me to tell you that there is a nationwide interest in how Universities have acted in response to the coronavirus pandemic. You suggest that you've received over 30 similar requests, is this 30 similar requests about football teams? And can you please tell me whether this number of requests is comparable to the number of requests that any other University would receive from a population of 60 million people with a high proportion of those having their children attending higher education?

You state that one of my requests is protected by legal professional privillage so you won't be releasing it, I'd say that if you were confident of your actions of charging students beyond the 23rd March 2020 then you'd happily release this information under an FOI request, alas, one would consider that as a public body you prefer not to be open and show transparency.

You are aware that I have filed a complaint on behalf of one of your students with the OIA and you know it is fanciful to suggest that I have made these FOI's pseudonymously.

I ask that you reconsider your decision as the public have a right to know how a public body is treating their students and whether the law is being complied with.

In parallel, I'll make an appeal with the ICO.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/s...

Yours faithfully,

John Clark

Freedom of Information, St Mary's University, Twickenham

Dear Sir

Thank you for your response to my email.

We will consider the points that you raise and will revert back to you shortly. Please note that I have copied the ICO into our response.

Yours sincerely

Andrew Browning
University Secretary and Head of Governance
Office of the Vice Chancellor
St Mary’s University, Waldegrave Road, TW1 4SX
020 8240 4267
07970 531112
[email address]

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John Clark left an annotation ()

Reported again to the ICO as St Mary’s University is refusing to answer the request.

Dear St Mary's University, Twickenham,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of St Mary's University, Twickenham's handling of my FOI request 'Students accommodation'.

This remains unanswered can you please address this as a matter of urgency?

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/s...

Yours faithfully,

John Clark

Dear St Mary's University, Twickenham,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of St Mary's University, Twickenham's handling of my FOI request 'Students accommodation'.

Further to your email on the 12th February you state you'll consider the points that I have raised.

I am still awaiting a response to my requests and we are now in March.

Do you consider the reason why you are not answering my FOI requests is because you are concerned that it would weaken your position should students litigate against your university for refunds of payments that your university demanded for bedrooms that your VC told them to vacate?

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/s...

Yours faithfully,

John Clark

Dear Freedom of Information Officer.

Despite endless communication, appeals and internal reviews, you have failed to provide the information that I have requested under the FOI act.

You are aware that I am assisting a student with a complaint regarding overcharging for accommodation during the first coronavirus lockdown and this case is set to be heard with the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) in the coming months.

I'm making a formal complaint to the ICO that your public body is refusing to answer my FOI requests in an attempt to not only hide this information from me but in an attempt to delay making this information available to the OIA to support the students case.

Yours sincerely,

John Clark.