Executive Board has underestimated housing problem

“With all due respect, I don’t think we should adjust our entire vision because of some students sleeping on a couch for two weeks.” This is the how Koen Becking, President of the Executive Board, responded to concerns of Fractie Front with regards to housing for international students that were outed several months ago. Now the shit has hit the fan.

“We were shocked when we heard him say this”, says Elbrich Meijering, Executive Board Member of studentparty Fractie Front. Becking stated this in the ‘Dagelijks Bestuur’ of  the University Council of June 30th. This was in response to Fractie Front’s warning that Tilburg University puts a lot of effort into attracting more international students, without thinking about their housing needs. With the current shortage of housing for international students, Meijering can’t help but feel that the Executive Board has hardly taken their concerns into consideration: “The Executive Board promised to keep track of it, but look where it has gotten us: students sleep in hotels, or on someone else’s couch. In the next assembly with Becking we will certainly come back to this problem.”

 Particular problems

Tilburg does not seem to have a general lack of housing, but Front points out that there are particular problems for international students. Landlords often require parents to provide a rent guarantee for students, but this is hard to arrange when these parents live faraway. Nor do these students have a steady income, which makes it hard to rent an apartment together. In addition to that, international students have to decide from the other side of the world whether a landlord is trustworthy or not. Recently two international students have been tricked into paying a deposit for a room that wasn’t there, according to student association I*ESN. And as if things aren’t complicated enough yet for internationals, Dutch students often prefer housemates that are also Dutch, which becomes apparent when looking at adverts that explicitly say ‘Dutch students only’. “Even though having, for example, an Englishman at the dinner table, can be just as good, if not better”, says Meijering from Fractie Front.

The measures of the Executive Board can be found here:

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