Queen’s at war over battels repayments

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After initially being undercharged for meals in Michaelmas and early Hilary terms, students were overcharged this term, then incorrectly refunded and asked to repay the refunds by the next day.

The Bursary threatened to ban students who did not return their refunds by Saturday from using their Bod cards in college.

A system failure had meant that students were not charged for hall meal payments from Michaelmas and early Hilary terms. An “adjustment fee” first announced on 18th January was added to Trinity battels statements.

The deadline was then extended by one day, to the “disgruntlement” of some refund holders who have reacted against the adjustment fee and the withdrawal of refunds.

“Anyone who queried about the adjustments, including myself, was sent the information about the meals they had attended in itemised form, which means that college had the information somewhere all along’’, said a student who wished to remain anonymous.

A 2nd year student explained: “The amount of the adjustment fee seemed largely ‘guesstimated’. I realized that if I had gone to every single dinner in Michaelmas (which I didn’t), it wouldn’t have amounted to as much. So I went to ask for a refund, which at first they said they would give. Then an email explained that in fact the additional bill included some meals from Hilary term.’’

Another student added: “Many people have been charged the same amount, sometimes indivisible by the cost of the meal.”

The Bursary responded to student queries by referring them to the IT office, where they could view a breakdown of the adjustment. According to some of the students, this proved accurate. Others were still dissatisfied.

“I still maintain that I have been overcharged, as do a lot of people”, said a 2nd year student.

The possible “crossing” of students was another concern. According to the College handbook, this involves “not being allowed to obtain meals or supplies from the College. Those who still have not cleared their accounts by 3 pm on the last Friday of term will be liable to rustication or expulsion”.

Some students complained about a ‘’lack of transparency” in the battels system.

“There was a link on the most recent battels form, but none before that, to a website where students could access a fully itemised bill”, said a 3rd year student. “However, it was not particularly noticeable or well-publicised, so few people found out about it until they started querying with the Bursary.”

The JCR passed a motion on Sunday to ensure battels system accessibility.

The College’s Bursary team refused to comment. The emails from the Bursary to students explained the situation by “a new server that was installed at the time”.

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