University Students demand rent refund after being charged during a national lockdown

Photo taken by Jake Loader

Sheffield students barricaded themselves into the iconic arts tower for a protest of rent strikes.

They demanded a thirty percent reduction of rent for the remainder of the academic year as well as being allowed to leave their tenancy early without penalty.

They also asked the university to acknowledge the lack of support offered and for students to receive a full rent refund for the time spent in a national lockdown.

Jake Loader, editor in chief for the tab Sheffield, was one of the main reporters said, “From long wait times to get help for mental health to being dragged back to university with promise of face-to-face teaching, I can completely understand why students are so furious.

“I was with protesters from 5am and stayed with them, inside the arts tower, for most of the day. Both their anger at the university and passion at the need to forcefully make change was really clear to see.”

Photo taken by Jake Loader

The protest itself disrupted students from their studies.

John McGrath, a masters architecture student, said, “It is our deadline week this week and we’ve been told we cant access the tower this week now, many of us don’t have access to printers, scanners, space for model making, decent internet to upload work for submissions.”

During this protest a video was taken showing how the fire exit doors were locked preventing students from leaving.

Harry Maddocks, strikes social media officer, said “The universities handling of this year has been appalling prioritising profit whilst endangering students physical and mental health. All services offered by the university have been affected by the pandemic however the university has done little to mitigate this whilst still charging full price.

“Security locking key fire doors around where the students are based is yet another example of the university not caring about the student wellbeing.”

Despite the University of Sheffield refunding 4 weeks of rent on the 15th April until may 17th, protests will continue as this only affects students currently at University.

The university of Sheffield isn’t the only university where rent strikes are taking place. Others include the university of Manchester and the university of Liverpool.

Written by Hollie Taylor

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