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Pepperoni Observational News Corp - "Desk-hoarding" student is really just living at Chifley Library

By Chilli Pepper

Pepperoni Observational News Corp is a Peppercorn series that delivers satirical news and reporting via Peppercorn’s Facebook page and biannual magazine, and definitely has no affiliation with Woroni or the ANU Observer and any allusions to affiliations with these news outlets are false and misleading and should not be made or considered.

This just in...

"Desk-hoarding" student is really just living rent-free at Chifley Library

In the depths of a packed Chifley Library, a lone cluttered desk is left abandoned with a laptop, a backpack, a textbook, some clothes, and a bath towel. This phenomenon is known as “desk-hoarding”, where students take possession of a desk just short of ownership.

James Yummy, 19, is in Chifley Library polishing off an assignment. “I’ve been here for three hours and no one has showed up,” he says pointing towards the lone cluttered desk. “I think there might be food stored nearby, because there is a Hansel and Gretel-level crumb trail leading from the bookshelves over there to the desk.”

We witnessed a number of students walk briskly up to that empty desk, only to turn around dejected in search of a free spot. In a sea of taken desks, desk hoarders are really taking up some valuable real estate.

“We’ve seen a rise in the number of these desk-hoarding students... I’m almost certain they’re living here rent-free," says Chifley librarian Gwendoline. “I sometimes see wet footprints from ANU Sport through the entrance and up to the quiet desks on the top level.”

Gwendoline noted that around 18 eviction notices have been issued to these desk-hoarding students since the start of the Semester, adding her concern that this might push them onto the streets or into the classrooms.

She has some sympathy for them: “I sometimes bring in a double serving of my leftovers and leave it for the desk hoarders, only to return later that day to a kindly washed IKEA glass container and a handwritten note of thanks.” Gwendoline once even received mail from a postie addressed to one of the desks, which she kindly delivered by hand.

With such limited supply of desks and a high demand, some are comparing this with the housing crisis in Canberra. “Student housing is unaffordable, which has made ANU more inaccessible than ever,” said an anonymous student, who declined to comment on whether they were in-fact a desk hoarder. “This is where 24-hour libraries can step in to save students who would otherwise drop out of uni in search of work and a stable income.”

The anonymous student added that there was a plus side, “ANU students are passive aggressive and just mumble bad things under their breath about desk hoarders rather than touch their stuff... to be honest, it’s safer than living in Downer with all of the armed robberies going on.”

There have been indications of the simultaneous rise of another phenomenon called “investment desking”, where parents invest in desks so that their children can always have a desk secured when they need it.

“Our family owns some investment desks on the ground floor of Chifley,” says 20 year-old Burgmann College resident Matilda Juul of the Juul Vape fortune. “I think they’re good long-term assets to invest in given the limited supply and high demand in our current economic climate.”

There was even an historical case of adverse possession at Chifley Library in the 1980s, where a part-time double degree student took possession of a desk for 12 years and eventually became the legal owner. The ANU eventually traded some reasonably priced student accommodation to the student in exchange for the desk.

It is clear that desk-hoarding students need a good deal on ANU student accommodation to avoid this phenomenon growing further. Some economists noted authorities would rather see a market correction than invest in adequately priced student accommodation, with the desk market bubble bursting. Hopefully action is taken done before the recession hits, otherwise we will see more passive aggressive ANU students than ever.

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