THE National Union of Students (NUS) joined the calls for nationwide student rent strikes yesterday.
This September (16/17/18th), activists from UCL Cut the Rent (UCL-CTR), and the Radical Housing Network (RHN) will host a Rentstrike weekend training event; a gathering comprised of a series of workshops centred around the advancement of university rent strikes.
NUS will be providing logistical and financial support to this training event, in addition to mobilising students and student union officers to attend. NUS stated: ‘Despite a cost of living crisis and increasing debt levels, universities continue to escalate rent prices and privatise halls.
‘This year, thousands are likely to go on rent strikes in protest; NUS will be mobilising students to take action. Rent strikes are a proven and effective method of collective action: this year, UCL students demonstrated this when over 1,000 students withheld payments in a rent strike lasting five months. Despite repeated threats from the university, this June the strikers declared victory – winning rent freezes and concessions worth over £1,000,000.’
With maintenance grants recently cut by the present Tory administration, the replacement loans offered will only intensify debt levels. As such, NUS believes that the demand for affordable student housing is only growing.
Shelly Asquith, NUS vice president, said: ‘The decision to rent strike is never taken lightly; reflecting the severity of the situation students now find themselves in. The fact so many are now involved in political action at personal risk, demonstrates a collective hope of bringing about change for the benefit of all students.
‘We demand an end to the exploitative profits from university accommodation. We fully support the actions of rent strikers, and urge universities to urgently engage in negotiations to ensure future rates are set at a level which students can afford to pay.’