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Charlotte Hogarth-Jones Entry for Best News Contributor 2010

“No Chinese or similar” say APYork SAM NEWSOME

Charlotte Hogarth-Jones EDITOR THE LETTING agency APYork has been accused of racism and sexism, following advertisements placed on their website. From January, the company’s website featured houses with “no all male groups”, specified in red under their descriptions, which have since been removed. Further data was exclusively given to Nouse from the records of the ex-agency YRLA. The document, which lists properties to be let until the end of this academic year, shows notes stating “no Chinese”, “no all male groups”, and “no Chinese or similar” next to numerous properties. YUSU Welfare Officer, Ben Humphreys, described the information as “shocking”, stating that “it reveals YRLA to have been racist, Xenophobic and raises serious questions.” He disclosed that the Pro Vice-Chancellor for students and the Registrar of the University have been aware of the problem for some time, and that YUSU “look for immediate action to remove them [APYork] from campus.” In response, the University’s Press Officer, David Garner, confirmed that the information had been passed to the Registrar who is “consulting solicitors about what action to take”, describing it as “clearly unacceptable”.

When confronted with the information, MacMahon commented that “it might be a preference stated by a landlord,” and that “in the past we have taken that into account.” He went on to say that his company “tr[ies] to educate” the landlords, and that the advertisement online “shouldn’t say that.” He added: “It would have been a mistake, it won’t be there now”. One of his previous partners from YRLA, Adam Bennett of Adam Bennett Lettings, stated that his new company does not follow similar practices to MacMahon.

“[The report] is shocking... it reveals YRLA to have been racist, Xenophobic and raises serious questions.” Ben Humphreys, YUSU Welfare Officer

“I don’t have a problem with Chinese people but I do have a problem with people who do,” he stated. He continued to say that whilst problems can occur when international students are unable to provide UK guarantors, the University frequently acts as a guarantor for foreign students and that there is “no excuse for dealing with racists”. York’s other major letting agencies have also expressed their outrage at

Documents disclosed to Nouse reveal that APYork have been engaging in racial and sexual discrimination MacMahon’s practices. “We would never do anything like that, we are strictly open to anybody,” stated a spokesperson for IG Property. Similarly, the owner of Sinclair Properties, Neil McTurk, commented that it is “outrageous if people are discriminating,” and that

Sinclair has “a very high proportion of houses with all male groups”. This is the second controversy to emerge in a matter of weeks surrounding the shamed letting agent YRLA. Nouse reported last term that a bitter legal battle amongst the directors and

ex-staff had led to serious student complains regarding a lack of information from the agency. Students were left unaware of who to pay rent to and when to pay it. Bennett told Nouse that YRLA “wasn’t run like a partnership, it was more like a dictatorship”. He went on

to describe MacMahon’s leadership and work ethicas being of full of “smoke and mirrors”. APYork developed as a company when MacMahon split from YRLA last year.

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Formal complaint lodged against the Economics department for second year running FOR THE second year running a group of students have lodged a formal complaint against the Economics department’s exam procedure, following their Microeconomics paper at the start of this term. The students, who have approached the Board of Studies and are still unsatisfied with the outcome, are claiming that their exam paper was “deliberately misleading”, that the module was poorly taught, and that many of them had to pay for private tutoring in addition to their seminars and lectures. One second-year student told Nouse that in one of the questions

“the symbol for Wealth and Endowments were really very similar and seemed designed to trick people”, and that “pretty much everyone I know has had private tuition for this”, commenting that supervisors “didn’t seem to care” about many of the students’ concerns with the module. Peter Spencer, Head of the Board of Studies for Economics, has since spoken to Nouse, saying that “students brought this [matter] to our Board Of Studies” and that the department had “a long discussion with the student representatives there.” He continued to say that the issue was given “a full

and serious discussion” but that he “can’t remember what the conclusion was”, adding that “as far as [he was] concerned, there are no plans for change”. One of the main complaints of the students is that notation used in their lectures and seminars was especially difficult for those doing combined studies. “For people who didn’t have a Maths background it might as well have been French,” commented one PPE student. “There’s a difference between having a hard exam and not being able to understand it because it’s been written deliberately confusing,” she continued. “I went to see

my supervisor and it was pretty much a case of ‘go and get a tutor’, but it’s such a niche area of Economics it was really difficult to find someone who could teach me what I needed to know. “I know some guy who runs tutoring out of his house in Halifax and charges students £3 a visit,” continued a second PPE student. “I thought about going but was uncomfortable with turning up to someone’s house. My parents ended up paying lots of money for tutoring over the Easter holidays, even though I’d done loads of work.” As well as their discontent at

having to pay for extra tuition, many of the students told Nouse that they were more upset by the attitude of the Economics Department themselves. “They don’t really listen at all,” said one Politics and Economics student, saying “they should definitely change the format of the exam as there seems to be problems with it every year.” “I know a few students who have gone to their supervisors concerned about the exam,” her friend added, “they said that they shouldn’t worry because PEP knows the Micro exam is ridiculous and often not a reflection of people’s abilities.”

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