Sam Fearnley reports on the ongoing protest against UCL’s ‘soaring accommodation fees’
More than 500 people have signed up to support UCL’s Cut the Rent campaign. After the success of the Campbell House rent strike last summer, where a total of almost £100,000 was awarded as compensation to students, support for the campaign has grown more broadly among the university’s student population.
In a press release on their Facebook account, the Cut the Rent campaign said:
…with support from the Radical Housing Network, the extension of the strike increases the amount of rent withheld to over £1,000,000, a figure set to rise as students continue to sign up to the strike.
The campaigners went on to describe the nonchalant response from management at UCL, saying,
Despite the strikers’ willingness to negotiate with UCL management, their dismissal of student concerns and transparently violent threats leads UCL-CTR to believe that the expansion of this strike is fully proportionate and justified. With new students pledging to join the strike on a daily basis, UCL-CTR is confident the strike will continue to grow until these serious welfare concerns are satisfactorily addressed
Criticism of UCL’s handling of the latest round of protests has also been widespread. UCL management has reportedly said that they will pursue evictions of students, and that they ‘intend to withdraw licenses to occupy hall residences from strikers’.
Anabel Bennett, a member of the Cut the Rent campaign, said:
The response from residents in UCL halls has been overwhelming. First-year students are now organising themselves on an unprecedented scale – the strike is expanding exponentially as more and more students see that the only solution is to take action.
A spokesperson for the Radical Housing network said:
As millions now suffer in the housing catastrophe, the Radical Housing Network stands in full support of the inspiring actions of UCL Rent Strike and will defend students against any attempts at intimidation or eviction, with all of the resources at our disposal.
The recent surge in support for the rent strike has received considerable attention, noticeably on social media, as well as coverage in the Independent.
The Cut the Rent campaign was founded to create a ‘social rent-setting policy’, which would allow students from low-income backgrounds the chance to come and study in the city without financial concern. Their aim is an immediate 40% reduction in rent fees.
Featured Image Credit: UCL, Cut the Rent (Facebook)