81 academics, union officials and organisations sign letter in support of the UCL rent strike

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81 academics, union officials and organisations sign letter in support of the UCL rent strike

81 UCL academics, union officials, and organisations, have signed an open letter in support of the ongoing UCL rent strike.

We, the undersigned, are writing to declare our support and solidarity for the 150 UCL undergraduate students who have formally declared an indefinite rent strike as an effective grassroots protest at the incredible costs that UCL management impose upon their students, and the housing catastrophe that is devastating hundreds of thousands of lives across London and the UK.

Organised by UCL – Cut the Rent (UCL-CTR) with support from the Radical Housing Network, the strikers are collectively withholding over £250,000 until demands for a 40% rent cut are met. We support the UCL-CTR campaign for lower rents in student halls. We feel that the university has an obligation to its students and to society to provide decent, genuinely affordable accommodation.

Since 2009 UCL has increased the median rent by 56%, yielding an annual surplus of 45% – £15,779,000 – at the cost of ever-increasing student debt.

UCL has ignored repeated complaints and concerns from its students, and so those affected have been left with little option but to take direct, radical action in order to solve the crisis of unaffordable accommodation prices. In fact, a study recently published by Oxford University, which shows how the only social campaigns to win effective advances in times of austerity have been those involving elite-challenging and bottom-up direct action, suggests this may well be the only the only solution.

It is obvious to us that student welfare is not of a concern for UCL management; its profiteering off the student population, whilst claiming in their “customer promise” to offer “affordable prices”, is unacceptable. By doing this, UCL is not only failing its students, but the many prospective students that will be shut out of Higher Education on financial grounds, not to mention exacerbating skyrocketing private sector rents. We hope that UCL will solve this problem by making accommodation affordable and continue to attract undergraduates, regardless of their household income.

We believe that this flagrant exploitation of student tenants is endemic of the housing catastrophe in London. We expect that a successful rent strike at UCL will be a significant action that encourages other renters to take action in the private sector, to fix the housing disaster we are facing from the grassroots.

 

Signatories:

Shelly Asquith, Vice President at NUS
Betsy Dillner, Director, Generation Rent
Focus E 15
Campaign Alliance of Community Organisations for Reform Now (ACORN)
Pascal Letendre-Hanns, UCL Union External Accommodation Officer
Angus O’Brien, UCL Union Halls Accommodation Officer
Natalie James, UCL Union Women’s Officer
Celia Willoughby, UCL Union LGBT+ Officer
Sean Wallis, UCL UCU Branch President
Birkbeck College UNION Branch Executive Committee
SOAS UNISON Branch Executive Committee
Sian Berry, Green Party Candidate for Mayor of London
Sophie van der Ham, Co-Chair Young Greens of England and Wales
Hannah Ellen Clare, Co-Chair Young Greens of England and Wales
Green Party Trade Union Group
Bristol Green Party
The Student Assembly Against Austerity
Bristol People’s Assembly
Professor Hans Van Wees, UCL
Professor Catherine Hall, UCL
Professor Axel Korner, UCL
Professor Nicola Miller, UCL
Professor Eleanor Robson, UCL
Professor Ben Kaplan, UCL
Professor Elizabeth Graham, UCL(Archaeology)
Professor Vincent Walsh, UCL
Professor Michael Berkowitz, UCL
Dr Jamie Baker, UCL (Chemistry)
Dr Andy Fugard, UCL
Dr Sam Gilbert, UCL
Dr Richard Barbrook, University of Westminster
Dr Dimitris Dalakoglou, VU University Amsterdam
Dr Taavi Tillmann, UCL (Wellcome Trust PhD fellow)
Dr Geoff Williams, Translation Studies, UCL
Dr Richard Mole, SSEES, UCL
Dr Bojan Aleksov, SSEES, UCL
Dr Matthew Beaumont, UCL
Dr Anna Mavrogianni, UCL
Dr Gabriel Moshenska, UCL (Archaeology)
Dr Adam Smith, UCL
Dr Yağmur Heffron, UCL
Dr John Sabapathy, UCL
Dr David Sim, UCL
Dr Paola Ceccarelli, UCL
Dr Vivienne Lo, UCL
Dr Sophie Page, UCL
Dr Helga Satzinger, UCL
Dr Iain Stewart, UCL
Dr Lily Chang, UCL
Dr Antonio Sennis, UCL
Dr Valentina Arena, UCL
Dr Lucia Patrizia Gunning, UCL
Dr Lars Fischer, UCL
Dr Andrew Smith, UCL
Dr William Booth, UCL
Dr Craig Griffiths, UCL
Dr Simona Tobia, UCL
Dr Annie Fee, British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow
Dr Danica Summerlin, British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow
Keith McClelland, Co-Director, Structure and significance of British Caribbean slave-ownership 1763-1833
David Robert, UCL
Penelope Barrett, UCL
Cari Tuhey – History Departmental Tutor (Transition and Welfare), UCL
Shane Horwell, UCL
Natasha Wilson, UCL
Estelle Paranque, UCL
Alessandro De Arcangelis, UCL
Elspeth Dow, UCL
Catherine Beck, UCL
Gabrielle Villais, UCL
Misha Ewen, UCL
Hannah Young, UCL
Marjolein Van Bavel, UCL
Alejandra Concha Sahli, UCL
Harry Stopes, UCL
Mara Sankey
Ben Mechen
Jack Saunders
Emily Corran
Camila Gatica Mizala
Samir Jeraj, journalist

Featured image: UCL, Cut the Rent

81 academics, union officials and organisations sign letter in support of the UCL rent strike Reviewed by on March 3, 2016 .

81 UCL academics, union officials, and organisations, have signed an open letter in support of the ongoing UCL rent strike.

ABOUT AUTHOR /

Gerard Westhoff

Gerard is the Editor-in-Chief of Pi Online for 2015/16, and a third year Natural Sciences student. Follow him on Twitter @gedhoff

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