A “students before profit” rally will happen in Weston Park this Sunday, April 25, at 2pm.
The protest is designed to call for both the University of Sheffield (UoS) and Sheffield Hallam University to meet the demands of “fed up” students in the city.
These demands include:
- A rent reduction of 30 per cent for the 2020/21 academic year
- A no penalty early release clause from their tenancy contracts
- A full refund of rent for the duration of the previous lockdown
- For the Universities to acknowledge the lack of support offered to students so far and pledge to change this moving forward
A student attending the strike, Olivia Johns, said: “I don’t think the university has been very transparent about rent fees – students have been trapped in contracts.”
“The UoS has been one of the most generous in terms of refunding rent – they have already refunded 30 per cent of accommodation rent to students who didn’t stay in halls during lockdown.”
“That shows they have the means to refund all students the same 30 per cent, and it is not an unreasonable rent strike demand.”
Despite not occupying their accommodation for a large portion of the year, many students have still paid most of their due rent.
Zac Jones, a computer science student, argued: “The University has acted fair enough in terms of rent and accommodation – I believe that tuition fees are the bigger issue.”
“We have quite clearly not received the world class education advertised.”
This comes at a time where many people are struggling financially due to the pandemic.
An urban planning student, Nathan Caines, said: “During a time of uncertainty, people need to come together – not cause an uproar within the place we are to spend the next two to three years.”
“Strikes are known to be the start of a downward spiral – it could harm the relationship between the university and their students.”
“They rarely work, and this one could be especially unnecessary with COVID still prevalent.”
The protest was organised by ‘UoS and SHU rent strikes’.
The event will be socially distanced and will require those taking part to wear a mask.