The recent weeks have seen what can only be described as a sharp and worrying climb in anti-student related acts. Vandalism, verbal and physical abuse have become rife in parts of Egham and Englefield Green in the run up to Christmas – but will this trend continue?
A number of students when asked about any anti-student attitudes they had experienced in the local area reported to having been verbally abused by members of the public on transport and in the general local area. Instances of anti-student vandalism have also appeared around Englefield Green. ‘Students f*** off’ and other such phrases have cropped up in a number of locations around the area, and while some have been removed, they do still appear. The Holly Tree pub in Englefield Green remains strictly out-of-bounds to all students.
Most worryingly, last term saw ‘suspicious’ fires in accommodation being lived in by students from Royal Holloway. Fire crews attended three separate blazes in a single week alone, and Surrey police officers are ‘keeping an open mind’ about possible links between two of the incidents.
Surrey Police are still investigating a possible arson attack after a student house in Hazel Close caught fire in late November. While none of the occupants were hurt in the immediate incident, they have been displaced for what could be the remainder of the year, after the house was deemed uninhabitable for months.
While this recent trend is worrying, only time will tell if it is indicative of wider attitudes towards students generally; for now though, we can maintain that no-one has been seriously threatened or hurt as a result.