Students across colleges are being threatened with evictions and heavy fines for the slightest breach of college rules, all the while paying exorbitant rent. International students in particular are required to pay hundreds of pounds to quarantine at the start and end of term, while being made to leave the relative safety of their home countries at huge financial cost. We should not be bearing the brunt of Government and University mismanagement.
We were forced to return to University to the detriment of many student’s mental and physical health, because the University puts profit before our welfare. Despite Covid-19 crisis, no concessions have been made despite the precarious situation many students find themselves in. The cost of living across colleges is extortionate, which must be seen as an accessibility issue.
We will be rent striking from January until the University and every College agree to a 30% rent reduction across colleges for the 2020/21 academic year, allows all students to study remotely if they wish, and commits to making no further job losses as a result of the pandemic. Rent striking is a powerful form of collective action that has proven to be successful across the UK, from UCL to Lancaster, Manchester to Bristol. There are now over 50 rent strikes occuring across the UK!
*No students have faced fines or prosecutions for this form of action. Any attempt by the University or Colleges would be a PR disaster and severely impact their ability to recruit new students. As a collective, we have huge strength in numbers, and the rent strike will only go forward once a significant number of students have signed up at your college. A rent strike will only go ahead at your college if you decide enough people have signed up. This will be a huge loss of profit to the college and they cannot and absolutely will not take disciplinary action against such a large number of students.
By committing to rent strike you are standing arm in arm with your fellow students, many of whom are struggling to afford the basic cost of living. Together, we can empower one another to take control of our University and our lives by demanding a safer, fairer and more humane education.
View the open letter and see a full list of demands here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/18GVwIGpsq6hFyOcXXDrz1i64HmBZICLdA89tZ0GbM2c/edit
*In the form below, indicate if you wish to just sign the open letter, or to sign the open letter and to pledge to rent strike.*