Alliance Party spokesperson for Laganbank, Allan Leonard, has welcomed the decision by Queen’s University to suspend its first student for bad behaviour in the Hold Land area of South Belfast. He hopes that this is an indication of the willingness of Queen’s to commit itself to its responsibilities to all residents living in its own backyard.
Mr Leonard said:
“It is about time that Queen’s University has recognised its responsibilities to long-term residents and fellow well-behaved students in the Holy Land area.
“The long-running problems in the Holy Land have been well highlighted, but this suspension shows that Queen’s is willing and able to enforce what all agree is required of all its students – acceptable behaviour and respect for one’s neighbours. I just hope this isn’t a one-off act, but an indication of a longer-term commitment.
“Alliance and others have long been applying pressure on Queen’s to step up to the plate, as the leadership of the University of Ulster have already done, with its 9 suspensions, 17 fines, and 135 final warnings given to its students in the past two academic years.
“Everyone is aware of the gross overdevelopment of multiple-occupancy housing in the Holy Land area contributing to the problem.
“Minister Angela Smith has told me that while a moratorium cannot be made on new development, she is informed by the practice in Scotland, where no more than 10% of households in student areas can be of multiple-occupancy. Estimates are that it is already about 80% in the Holy Land.
“I support the housing scheme being implemented in South Belfast that requires landlords to ensure that they manage their properties so that they don’t adversely affect the well being of the neighbourhood.
“If it’s good enough for Queen’s to enforce acceptable behaviour and good neighbourliness, then it’s good enough for landlords to do the same.”