“I think the university accommodation team put profit before their students’ wellbeing and mental health.”
On Thursday 21 January, Cut The Rent campaigners had a meeting with the senior management at the University of Leeds. Cut the Rent were asking for a 40% reduction in rent for the whole academic year and the option for students to leave contracts early, in addition to the full rebate students will receive for the beginning of semester two. Unfortunately, the senior management team rejected these demands, which has resulted in the rent strike.
The meeting seemed to be tense as both sides were fighting their corner with little indication of backing down or compromising. In the meeting, the senior management team claimed that they’re “doing better than other
universities” and that currently, it’s difficult to get the money together as other areas of the institution might suffer. Representatives of the campaign responded afterwards in an Instagram live video, stating that they’re “really not going to have enough money when we rent strike because that’s definitely going ahead now.”
The students involved in the Cut The Rent campaign also said that they will be going to the press about their treatment, which will in turn affect the number of students applying for the University of Leeds in future years.
Senior management ended the meeting there, claiming that they “didn’t come here to be threatened.”
Cut The Rent Leeds currently know about £127,142 that is being withheld, with the possibility of the number being higher with those who haven’t yet informed them. I spoke to one student who will be withholding their money to find out why they are partaking in the rent strike.
“I’m doing the rent strike because I think this years’ students, especially first years, have been let down by the University. We were told that our university experience wouldn’t be significantly altered and that we would have in-person teaching as much as possible. This meant the majority of us
moved into halls in September. After coming in and out of lockdown and having only 3 in-person sessions (I know people that have had none), it really does seem that we could have done first term, or even first year, from home. For this reason, I think the University’s accommodation team put profit before their students’ wellbeing and mental health.”
“There is also the fact that we had to leave early for Christmas, within the travel window, as well as not being able to use any of the facilities in my
accommodation or The Edge gym membership, which we also pay for as part of our rent. I am now still at home because we have been told not to go back to uni because of lockdown. I understand that they couldn’t have predicted any of these lockdowns, but it seems unfair that they are not
taking all of this into consideration when deciding our rent for this year” they continued.