Why are you compiling the budget for this year now? Should it not have been approved before the start of the year?
SÚZ ČVUT [SFA CTU or Service Facilities Administration of the Czech Technical University] complies the budget according to CTU rules. The compilation of the budget is tied to underlying information which CTU obtains from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (e.g. budget allocation amount). CTU usually only receives this information in February of the current year.
You repeat that this has been the theme of the last 10 years. Who bears responsibility for 10 years of talk and no action?
Clearly the lack of funds, which has several causes.
When comparing the price per square meter, Strahov is more expensive than some apartments. Do you think that Strahov offers services of a sufficient quality to justify this price?
As was mentioned in the public meeting, two perspectives intersect within the issue - commercial rental housing vs. the provision of accommodation as a service. SFA CTU offers its clients accommodation as a service. It is therefore not possible to convert the price per square meter. From this perspective, the service quality is sufficient.
Why are fees increasing the same for all dormitories?
It’s one possible approach that ensures relative fairness.
When you argue about the price of other dormitories, why are they not qualitatively like the others? It’s clear that the maintenance of AMG will cost me more than that of Fabia.
The overall condition of the buildings and dormitory equipment is directly related to the amount of funds that SFA CTU had, has and will have at its disposal. Long-term low dormitory fees are the main cause of this situation.
What is the stipulated hygienic limit for the minimum area of a room for two people?
The building must fulfil the criteria applicable at the time of its construction, or final approval. This also applies to hygiene requirements. At the public meeting, it was recalled that the Strahov dormitory blocks were built as temporary changing rooms. Legislation does not stipulate a hygienic limit for university accommodation. The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport’s decree ends at the limits of vocational school accommodation.
When questioned about financial transparency, why do you refer to the Annual Report when you immediately state that it is actually not at all objective? Why does SFA CTU lie in annual reports?
It doesn’t lie. Also, it was not said anywhere that the Annual Report isn’t objective. It was mentioned that the table published in the Annual Report regarding the management of individual dormitories is misleading, because it doesn‘t contain all the costs related to the operation of the dormitories. However, this is not the fault of CTU or SFA CTU; the information in the Annual Report is structured according to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport’s requirements.
Could you make a presentation/prepare a document that would explain your steps, with materials and numbers? The responses in the discussion and the Annual Report are not sufficient.
Such a document exists. Clear information, with an explanation of the steps in individual resolved problems and yearly overviews is presented by SFA CTU to the designated bodies and their representatives – the CTU Rectorate and the CTU Academic Senate. Furthermore, SFA CTU regularly communicates with and answers questions from CTU Student Union bodies.
How do you view the petition that doesn’t agree with the condition of the dormitories and the fee increases? It’s not just a pointless exercise, because it has over 1,000 signatures...
The petition was forwarded to the CTU Rectorate, where authorised employees dealt with all the questions. All the questions were also recorded by SFA CTU. Due to the CTU Rectorate’s need to sufficiently discuss the questions, the discussion of the price lists by the CTU Academic Senate was postponed until the next regular meeting, which will take place on the 29th of March 2023.
In the case of the reconstruction of the Bubeneč dormitory, have penalties been imposed on supplier companies for the fundamental failure to comply with quality and deadlines?
Yes, they have.
Why do you avoid imposing penalties on the cleaning company which, in Podolí for example, is absolutely unable to abide by the contract? Mould etc. in the bathrooms will discourage a lot of people.
Of course this is happening, and SFA CTU has reserves in this area. Inspections by senior SFA CTU employees have increased.
Mould in the bathrooms isn’t entirely related to cleaning, but rather to the regimen in the bathrooms. High humidity without regular ventilation provides fertile ground for its growth. The director’s letter included information about the elimination of the mould by EKOSAN, and a request for cooperation by the residents.
How, during Covid, when most students were absent from the dormitories (didn’t use the lights, didn’t cook, didn’t flush toilets, didn’t take showers), could the dormitories start losing money?
Precisely because most students were absent from the dormitories. During limited operation, you can significantly reduce variable costs (cleaning, actual energy consumption), but fixed costs (such as wages, energy and insurance deposits etc.) will decrease very little or not at all. At the same time, the SFA CTU catering facilities were closed.
Was an audit of SFA CTU considered?
This is a question for CTU management rather than SFA CTU management.
Why was across-the-board spraying used, which was refused? The disinsection of all the blocks costs 2 million CZK. Why do you spray absolutely everything? You have data on the occurrence of bedbugs; it can be analysed, and only certain areas can be sprayed.
Across-the-board spraying wasn’t refused. Where the infestation was greatest, the acutely affected rooms had to be dealt with. As soon as the situation in some blocks calmed down noticeably, the solution was to employ across-the-board spraying and reduce the occurrence of bedbugs on specific objects to zero. Across-the-board disinsection also doesn’t target only bedbugs; it also affects other unwanted insects that may be present in the dormitory. In a way, it’s a return to normality.
How is it possible that bedbugs aren’t such a problem in other dormitories?
At a meeting of representatives of purpose-built facility administrations attached to universities in the Czech Republic, it was stated that all accommodation facilities are dealing with the occurrence of bedbugs and unwanted insects. This problem is also faced by hotel facilities throughout the Czech Republic. However, the infestation in the afore-mentioned facilities is not great enough, nor the fight long enough, to be publicised. Therefore, in general there is a lack of awareness of the problem of infestation by unwanted insects.
In October, the CTU Academic Senate discussed bedbugs. The discussion mentioned how senators saw a bedbug in 1960 in Istanbul. How are we supposed to believe that such a body will resolve our problems?
By law, the CTU Academic Senate is a control body, not an executive one. Its primary role is therefore to check that the executive bodies (in this case SFA CTU) are doing what they should. The CTU Academic Senate has long been dealing with the situation in dormitories, and it did not find a systematic failure in the approach to bedbugs.
Do you consider the disinsection of rooms to be one the services that residents should pay for?
We don’t consider it to be so, and it doesn’t happen. We should only demand payment for disinsection from residents who were demonstrably aware of the occurrence of bedbugs in their room and failed to report this fact to the manager; i.e. they actively participated in spreading the problem in the dormitory.
The Register of Contracts isn’t informative; for example, in the case of EKOSAN, it isn’t possible to ascertain the price per room, or the overall price of the services in the given period. Is this information published somewhere?
The price of treating one room is approximately 1,700 CZK.
Are there plans to address students‘ health problems that arose due to the outrageous presence of bedbugs and the constantly ineffective agent?
To date, SFA CTU has not ascertained a direct connection between the occurrence of bedbugs and possible diseases. Bedbugs don’t represent a serious health risk for humans. SFA CTU is aware of accompanying problems due to the increased occurrence, and once more apologises to residents for this unpleasant situation.
BUILDING ADMINISTRATION AND MAINTENANCE
Why, in 2023, are lamps from SFA CTU still fitted with classic light bulbs with ten times the energy consumption of other options?
In 2016, when the new lamps with the SFA CTU logo were purchased, they were already fitted with energy-saving elements. Therefore, everything that’s in stock is also energy-saving. If the resident still has an old light bulb, they can contact their manager and ask them to replace it.
Why are the dormitories (corridors) illuminated non-stop? Is it not possible to install a motion sensor and thereby save energy?
In 2020, ENESA (as part of a major cost-saving project) completely replaced all the lighting in all dormitories and buildings managed by SFA CTU with energy-saving devices. SFA CTU and ENESA are currently discussing changes to light switches in the corridors – thank you for your suggestions.
Lately, we keep hearing about reconstructions, modernisations etc. Would it really be such a problem to at least provide functional appliances, when we’re just talking about one floor?
SFA CTU’s budget doesn’t have the funds to replace the itinerary every month. SFA CTU tries hard to ensure that residents feel good in the dormitories, and that they have the appropriate means to make dormitory life more pleasant. Unfortunately, burnt-out microwave ovens, burnt hotplates, unusable ovens and kicked-through toilet doors are not the result of SFA CTU’s activity, or faulty appliances, but the style of treatment by their users.
Reconstruction of the blocks is costly. Why not start by eliminating bedbugs, and ensuring that the kitchens, showers and toilets are mould-free, so that we don’t have to be afraid to use them?
We are constantly actively fighting against bedbugs, as Mr. Zavadil, executive director of the disinsection company EKOSAN, confirmed once more at a public meeting on the 1st of March 2023.
The problem of mould was discussed at a public meeting on the 22nd of November 2022. Mr. Zavadil described the issue of the fight not only against bedbugs but also against mould. Company employees, including himself, are collecting mould samples in the Strahov dormitories, cultivating them, and planting a unique fungus on them that eats the mould. It’s a long-term battle, but it’s being actively addressed.
With both problems, maximum cooperation by residents is required – in the fight against bedbugs, they must prepare their room according to instructions. In the fight against mould, humid spaces (rooms where clothes are dried, and bathrooms) must often be briefly, but intensively ventilated.
Did the replacement of shower heads in the dormitories pay off?
Shower heads were replaced as part of the EPC project. Savings, including in water consumption, have been recorded. Increased energy costs shorten the payback period of the implemented measures.
Was it necessary to hire new employees (caretakers)? What’s their job description? Unlike the maintenance workers, whom I’ve known for years, I haven’t met them yet.
It was – and is – necessary to strengthen the Strahov dormitory maintenance work team. Lots of residents‘ comments point in this very direction.
Have you considered that it could be possible to hire students on a temporary basis for some maintenance activities? Surely an engineering student can fix a leaking sink.
I’ve thought of that, but we don’t consider it a solution. The student pays for their accommodation in the dormitory as a service, and this service should include timely maintenance interventions in the dormitory.
Is it necessary to close the kitchen for half a year because of painting? It has quite a negative effect on very many students.
The closure of a revitalised area is always justified, not only due to technological outages but also because of the continuity of construction and joinery works. Every block has several kitchens, either smaller or larger. The larger ones are either freely accessible or under student self-government, where borrowing keys isn’t a problem.
If you want to let SFA CTU know how students are negatively affected, you can do so using the e-mail address suz-dotazy [at] cvut [dot] cz. You will receive a response to your message as soon as possible.
Why is it that food prices in CTU canteens are higher than in other Prague universities?
Food prices are directly connected to cost increases. In CTU canteens, the diner has a larger selection. In the Dejvice campus, they have two canteens to choose from, each with its own menu. Diners don’t have to order food in advance.
Why is food in the Technical Canteen becoming more expensive, but the quality is going down?
Evaluating the quality of food in a canteen is a completely subjective matter. According to the number of meals served, the Technical Canteen is the most frequented catering facility managed by SFA CTU. In the event of specific comments, the diner should report the food on the spot to one of the senior canteen employees. An increase in the price of food is connected with an increase in input costs.
How is electricity billed in other dormitories (other universities‘ dormitories)? Is it part of the dormitory fees, or is it separate like in our case?
It varies, but usually electricity consumption is measured directly in the rooms, just like in CTU dormitories.
You argue that you’re increasing prices due to rising energy costs. If these costs suddenly began to decrease, will you also react by reducing prices?
After agreement with student representatives, the use of any financial surpluses arising due to significant decreases in water and sewage costs will be addressed. In the case of electricity, specific consumption will be billed at the current monthly rate. In the case of other services, a decrease in prices isn’t expected. Ultimately, it is therefore likely that, once everything is added up, there won’t be any surpluses. However, I must repeat that if there are, then they will be used according to the agreement with the student representatives.
How can it happen that SFA CTU submits documents, e.g. in connection with the payment of electricity, that aren’t in accordance with the ERU regulation?
That hasn’t happened. Submitted documents are always in accordance with the legal framework of the Czech Republic. As for the withdrawal of the reimbursement price list, the proposal was in accordance with the legislation. After repeated discussion, we managed to find an electricity billing method that’s fairer to individual residents, which is why material from the CTU Academic Senate’s February meeting was withdrawn.
Would it be possible to publish a sample of the revitalised rooms in Block 11? For example in the form of photographs, or a public tour?
It was published on our Facebook page on the 27th of February 2023, i.e. two days before the public meeting. It’s also available on the FB page Správa účelových zařízení ČVUT [Service Facilities Administration CTU].
Was someone who has experience with life in Strahov consulted on the form of the new “model“ rooms in Block 11?
The rooms in Block 11 were equipped as model rooms precisely so that we could try out various furnishings in them and get feedback from the residents. We will then apply this experience when revitalising other blocks.
Why are there once again divan beds with storage space in the new rooms? Bedbugs are undoubtedly easier to eliminate in beds with legs rather than “chests“. These beds are also supplied as new to existing rooms. They’re the cheapest, aren’t they?
There won’t be divan beds in the new rooms. In the model rooms there are beds that have storage space, but also a grill and a mattress. Their construction should offer only minimal living space for bedbugs.
Could you comment on the price range for the revitalisation of one such room?
For a double room, the cost will be approximately 140,000 CZK. This price includes construction works consisting of the demolition of the built-in wardrobe, demolition of the door frame, installation of a new door frame including door leaves, plaster repair, painting and replacement of PVC on the floor and wiring modifications. And of course completely new furnishings (beds, mattresses, desks, chairs, wardrobes etc.).
Why did you not send the letter issued on 24/02 earlier? Lots of students would have felt reassured if they at least knew what the situation in SFA CTU is. Once again, as with the bedbugs, SFA CTU offered little information.
On 15/01/2023, the CZSO [Czech Statistical Office] issued information on the rate of inflation. Energy consumption overviews for 2022, and thus also the basis for new price lists and reimbursement price lists, began to be prepared.
On 06/02/2023, the proposals were handed over to the CTU Rectorate. After acceptance for discussion by the CTU Academic Senate, a letter from the director to clarify these steps was issued on 15/02/2023.
On 19/02/2023, on the basis of a heated discussion and after discussing the situation with representatives of KSÚZ [CSFA or Commission for SFA] of the CTU Academic Senate and the CTU Student Union, a letter to residents began to be prepared.
The afore-mentioned letter was published on 24/02/2023, after sending comments to and informing all the concerned parties.
There was no misconduct or concealment of information by SFA CTU; quite the opposite. Contrary to previous practice, it made an announcement as soon as it submitted the price lists for approval. At the public meeting, it was explained that it is not possible to provide information about steps based on abstract numbers.
The situation in SFA CTU has long been known to the bodies designated for this purpose and their representatives – the CTU Rectorate, the CTU Academic Senate and the CTU Student Union’s Student Parliament.
Why doesn’t SFA communicate in time? I’m asking in general; for example information about today’s closing of the restaurant was posted on your profile after 11 o’clock last night, so why do you even have a FB profile?
Information on FB and on the SFA CTU website is published as soon as it’s available. The internal processes in SFA CTU are not yet set up so perfectly that the information immediately reaches the person it’s supposed to. Also, due to the collection of information between departments, resolution times increase. For this reason, it will occasionally happen that information will be published late at night, on weekends etc.
Apart from the level of communication, there‘s also its tone. Do you feel it’s OK to dismiss our questions because apparently we don’t understand what we’re asking about? We don’t know how it works in the dormitories?
If accommodated students require information about the operation of SFA CTU, ongoing meetings and other related matters, they have the right to request information from student representatives of the CTU Academic Senate, or they can send their query to the RSS [SSC or Student Self-Government Council], which functions as a body of the CTU Student Union that communicates with dormitory management. Within the CTU Academic Senate, the students most suitable for this are CSFA members. Within the CTU Student Union, it‘s best to request information from the block or club-wide representative, who has information from the dormitory club management, or contact the chairperson of the CTU Student Union’s SSC.
There’s also the option of using the e-mail address suz-dotazy [at] cvut [dot] cz, where the question will either be answered or forwarded to the appropriate department for resolution.
When asked about improving communication with residents, you listed lots of CTU bodies. How do you intend to proceed in the case of people who study at other universities?
For students in other universities, it’s best to follow the FB page Správa účelových zařízení ČVUT [Service Facility Administration CTU].
Information is also published, in both Czech and English language versions, on the Správa účelových zařízení ČVUT [Service Facility Administration CTU] website – you just need to check it regularly.
The last tool that can be used to contact these students is sending an e-mail via the ISKAM4 accommodation system. However, this method has limited technical capabilities, and is only used for really important messages.
SFA CTU is considering expanding mailing activities outside the accommodation system, but only when the newly launched FB page is functioning – when it has the support of the followers (most of the residents).
Why is communication with SFA so bad (tragic)? Why don’t you send any surveys or questionnaires?
SFA CTU’s FB page has been functioning since the end of January. Until then, SFA CTU had no experience with this type of communication. It’s not just about communication with the external environment; it’s also about internal communication. According to SFA CTU employees, communication on FB is adequate. However, we admit that there are known reserves, in which communication will be improved further in both directions.
Surveys and questionnaires are being planned. Everything depends on the traffic on the FB page, so that the survey and questionnaire results can have informative value. We’ll discuss the dissemination of surveys and questionnaires with student representatives of the CTU Academic Senate and the CTU Student Union if necessary.
STUDENT SELF-GOVERNMENT AND OPERATION OF BLOCKS
What will happen with Block 4 over the summer? Will it be closed?
On Friday 10/03/2023, after a meeting with representatives of the Silicon Hill and Pod-O-Lee clubs, a director’s order was issued with designated zero summer accommodation capacities for Blocks 2, 3 and 4 in the Strahov dormitories and Block E in the Podolí dormitories.
Why do Blocks 2 and 3 pay the same as the others when they suffer in terms of comfort? You throw them out for the summer, you have a hostel there, refugees, Block 2 is mouldy, and some have bedbugs as well. Have you considered that, if you close Block 4 for the summer, the bedbugs will spread further?
Students accommodated in Blocks 2 and 3 of the Strahov dormitories are sufficiently informed of the fact that they are accommodated for an ACADEMIC BLOCK, i.e. that this block is only in operation during the academic year. They confirm this fact with their signature in the Accommodation Contract, and the manager repeats this fact several times. So there can be no talk of reduced comfort, when the fact is known in advance and confirmed by their signature. If the student is interested in year-round accommodation, then they have two options – to stay in a block and on a floor designated for summer accommodation, or to expect to have to move for the holidays.
The bedbugs will not spread if the residents abide by the issued instructions when moving.
Why are there plans to abolish the Four Crown Fund (4 CZK Fund), when it is the cheapest sovereign option for SFA CTU to contribute to the reconstruction without paying for the work?
Members of the student self-government have applied to draw from the 4 CZK Fund to purchase consumables and long-term assets that will be available to the residents of the dormitory in question, for example for leisure activities. The method of use can be seen in the purchased items. Only a very small part of the purchases made represents materials for the reconstruction of the premises. The funds allocated within the 4 CZK Fund therefore do not offer any possibility to reconstruct the dormitories free of charge. The abolition of the 4 CZK Fund is not currently being considered.