OVER 150 UCL students went on rent strike yesterday against what is one of the most expensive student accommodations in the country. They are now calling on the rent strike to spread nationwide.
Between 2009 and 2015 UCL increased the median rent by 56%. This will earn the university a surplus of almost £15m in 2016/17. This is the third consecutive year of rent strikes at UCL and is supported by the National Union of Students (NUS).
The strikers are demanding a 10% rent reduction for university accommodation
Sean Warmington, a Biology student at UCL, said: ‘The victory of UCL-CTR last year was a vindication of its tactics.
‘After mass strikes and collective action, negotiations and demonstrations, the introduction of an “accommodation bursary” proves that UCL are aware of their own extortionate rents but unwilling to take serious reparative action.’
UCL Cut the Rent said: ‘Numerous campuses across the country are planning a wave of rent strikes in the Spring term. UCL management face severe criticism from senior academics for letting the university “become an institution driven primarily by financial issues.”
‘Rent increases are tuition fees by stealth, and UCL students shouldn’t be forced to pay for the management’s long-term real estate developments by getting into debt. Students are spending the majority, if not all, of their student loans on rent. Only a universal rent cut can solve the problem of unaffordable accommodation at UCL.’
Jack Kershaw, a Classics student at UCL, said: ‘I’m rent striking so that in the coming years a wider range of students can study at UCL. The only reason why the university froze and cut some rents last year was the rent strike organised by students. It shows that university management need to be pressured by their own students into taking action.’
National Union of Students. NUS President Malia Bouattia said: ‘NUS have also passed policy to support rent strikes in universities up and down the country in order to encourage the growth of rent strike actions.’