Students slam universities for feeding them ‘junk food’ while they isolate in halls


Students are branding their university accommodation ‘the UK’s most expensive prison’ as they criticise the food supplied to them in isolation. 

Undergraduates have branded food parcels as being filled with ‘junk’, forcing them to get their parents to send fresh fruit and vegetables. 

And some students have claimed that universities have forgotten to give them meals or given them food which they are known to be allergic to. 

Institutions say they are working hard to provide supplies to self-isolating students who must stay at home for at least 10 days or risk being punished by fines.  

Edinburgh University has been particularly hard hit with criticism as students have started up a campaign for fresh and adequate food. 

Students are branding their university accommodation ‘the UK’s most expensive prison’ as they criticise the food supplied to them in isolation. Pictured: A sandwich given to a student at The University of Edinburgh

A first-year economics student, Tess Bailie, 18, has started a social media campaign to protest the poor conditions her fellow undergraduates are being forced to isolate in. 

Her Instagram account, The UK’s Most Expensive Prison, has revealed that some students with nut allergies are being given foods with nuts in. 

Another anonymous picture sent to the account shows dead mice allegedly in the pantry of one of the university’s halls of residence. 

One student claimed they hadn’t been given food for two days while another said they had been given out of date food.  

The University of Edinburgh  has admitted there had been a ‘few occasions when students’ needs have not been met’, but claimed these were quickly fixed.   

In a statement to the BBC, the university said: ‘Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our students continues to be our absolute priority.

‘We have teams of staff working 24 hours a day to provide those who are self-isolating in our catered and self-catered residences with three meals a day – including ready-to-heat meals – in line with their dietary requirements and preferences. Essential items are also being delivered on request.’

Pictured: A meal given to a student at The University of Edinburgh

Pictured: A meal given to a student at The University of Edinburgh

Undergraduates have branded food parcels as being filled with ‘junk’, forcing them to get their parents to send fresh fruit and vegetables

At the University of York self-isolating students can choose to spend £70 for a daily meal which includes just one sandwich, crisps, chocolate and water.

Students who want three meals a day are charged £170 for the isolation period, which can be as little as 10 days. 

One student at the University of Birmingham is being forced to spend her weekly catering allowance on boxes of ready meals. 

She told the BBC: ‘We don’t know if that is enough food to last for our period of isolation in terms of fresh food and vegetables which are lacking. It’s a lot of just like frozen stuff in there.

‘We don’t know what will be in the next box but because of the [first box] people from my flat have contacted home and asked for them to send things like vegetables.’

Her Instagram account, The UK's Most Expensive Prison, has revealed that some students with nut allergies are being given foods with nuts in

Her Instagram account, The UK’s Most Expensive Prison, has revealed that some students with nut allergies are being given foods with nuts in

The person who was allergic to nuts claimed they were given food with nuts twice

The person who was allergic to nuts claimed they were given food with nuts twice 

Students are also suffering with shortages of essentials such as toilet paper and are being made to pay £30 for washing 7kg of clothes.  

However, not all universities are charging students for food and toiletries. Lancashire’s Edge Hill University gives its students an ample supply of meat and fresh produce free of charge.   

Vice Chancellor John Cater said anyone isolating was being given free food whether they were in catered halls or not.

A self-isolating student at the University of Nottingham said that she wasn’t brought lunch on some days and once her breakfast was crisps, a chocolate bar, an apple and a carton of juice.  

One student claimed they hadn't been given food for two days while another said they had been given out of date food (pictured)

One student claimed they hadn’t been given food for two days while another said they had been given out of date food (pictured)

This student claimed they hadn't been given any food for two days

This student claimed they hadn’t been given any food for two days 

Another anonymous picture sent to the account shows dead mice allegedly in the pantry of one of the university's halls of residence

Another anonymous picture sent to the account shows dead mice allegedly in the pantry of one of the university’s halls of residence

A spokesperson for the University of Nottingham admitted some students had experienced issues with catering and its staff is working on a new process.   

More than 1,000 people have signed a petition accusing Lancaster University of ‘profiting’ from self-isolating students with food deliveries.

Hillary Gyebi-Ababio, vice-president of higher education at the National Union of Students, said students were being seen as ‘pounds not people’ and universities need to remember their ‘duty of care’ towards them. 

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