Undergrads upset over spot checks

Undergrads upset over spot checks
One of Nanyang Technological University's (NTU) halls of residence. The halls accommodate more than 9,200 local and foreign students.

It was 7am when she heard a knock on her dormitory door.

Drowsy and in her pyjamas, the 21-year-old Nanyang Technological University (NTU) undergraduate wondered who it could be, as her roommate was still asleep.

When she opened the door, she found a female hall officer and a male hall security officer.

"Room check," they said, before entering the room.

Following a The New Paper report last month that residents were renting out their rooms for profit, TNP understands that NTU has been conducting surprise checks at its 16 hostels, known as halls of residence.

The halls accommodate more than 9,200 local and foreign students.

Some students said these surprise checks were being done between 1am and 7am at NTU and they have voiced their displeasure online as they felt their privacy was being invaded by hall officers.

NTU has denied that the checks were conducted during that time. A spokesman said the checks usually occur at 6am to 7am.

The undergrad who had to open her door at 7am, a materials science and engineering student who wanted to be known only as Miss Tan, said: "I was quite irritated by it because it was so early in the morning. If I'd had a test that day, I would have been really upset."

She said that her roommate, who was still asleep then, was forced to wake up to show her matriculation card to prove she belonged in the room. Only then did the hall officers leave.

An NTU spokesman said: "The checks are to ensure that there is no overcrowding in the room and that people who no longer need the hall room are not 'hoarding' it or profiteering from it."

To do this, hall officers knock on the door of a randomly-picked room, quiz the occupants and check their student particulars to see if they are the official residents.

Some students have gone online to criticise the university's methods and the alleged timings of the checks, calling the checks "hall raids".

But the NTU spokesman said one of the terms and conditions when students apply for a hostel room is that random checks may be carried out.

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