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Students slam housing idea: 'We're not lab rats'

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15:22 CET+01:00
A suggestion that students forego kitchen access and space has angered students, who say politicians should not use them for housing experiments.

"If you want to simplify building rules, student housing is the first place to start," Ulf Perbo, top aide (statssekreterare) to Sweden's housing minister, is quoted as saying in a construction trade magazine.

He suggested students could do without a common room and a kitchen, and that sacrifices in living area were an option.

"It's not a life threatening catastrophe," Perbo told the magazine.

Erik Pedersen, vice chair of Sweden's Student Unions (Sveriges förenade studentkårer), reacted angrily.

"This shows the attitude that students are second-class citizens," he told Sveriges Radio (SR).

"We are not lab rats."

Meanwhile, Housing Minister Stefan Attefall hurried to his aide's defence.

"The quotes are exaggerated and not presented in context," he said.

A record number of students were accepted to Stockholm universities at the beginning of the academic year, yet at the same time the student housing situation has never been so dire.

Estimates at the time said only 15 percent of students had ready access to accommodation provided by the university.

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The National Board of Housing, Building and Planning (Boverket) is currently investigating if it is possible to simplify construction rules and regulations. It should present its report in the summer of 2013, reports SR.

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