Here are all the UoB committees helping students with rent strikes

‘A rent strike is the perfect way to get back at the university and get our voices heard’

University of Birmingham students are organising a rent strike. In less than a week, enough students have pledged to rent strike to withhold approximately £100,000.

The Student Justice Now student group and social media accounts like @RentStrikeUoB have all been set up to offer support to students participating in rent strikes.

Although the university has agreed to a partial refund for students in halls for January to February 2021, students with private landlords are demanding more.

The Instagram account @RentstrikeUoB has garnered more than 1500 followers. It was set up by a UoB student, who wishes to remain anonymous, and told The Birmingham Tab that the overwhelming response and engagement so far has “been really positive”.

The handler of the Instagram page told The Birmingham Tab the inspiration “came from being annoyed about everyone complaining but not doing anything about it”.

When asked what they hoped to achieve through setting up the Instagram page they told The Birmingham Tab “to get justice for university students. We have been massively overlooked by both the government and universities and it’s not fair.

“Being at university is meant to be the best years of our life as well as the most important, but we are not being supported in the way we deserve and it’s only right that the university realises and does something about it”.

Via @rentstrikeuob on Instagram

Although the university has recently announced that it will be refunding students in halls for January to February 2021, many students feel they deserve further reductions for the entirety of this academic year, as it has now been confirmed that teaching will remain entirely online until March 8.

Other fellow UoB students have launched a committee, to spear head the campaign. One committee member, Dean Turner, Sociology and Philosophy student, told The Birmingham Tab that there is “definitely a lot of appetite for change” amongst students.

Another group called Student Justice Now has also been set up to support rent reductions and tuition fee refunds, calling for action from the university.

Tom Wood, third year History student, was one of the founders of Student Justice Now. Wood chaired the first rent strike meeting open to all students earlier this month, which brought together over 50 students. During the meeting, they established campaign demands and how they would elect a committee to best represent the campaign.

Citing Lancaster and Manchester’s successful rent strikes, Wood described success as “more than possible”. He adds that “a rent strike is the perfect way to get back at the university and get our voices heard”.

In addition to the university disappointing its students, Wood also argues it has let down its staff “who have been put under huge amounts of pressure to deliver high quality teaching in the most adverse environments”.

Students across UoB are becomingly increasingly frustrated with the current situation. Third year UoB computer science student Saoirse Hunt told The Birmingham Tab she hates “the idea of throwing almost £400 away a month and not seeing any of the benefit”, and that having to study at home meant adjusting without the right facilities.

UoB’s rent strike committee are working towards their official demands being released in the coming weeks. In under a week of campaigning enough students have pledged to rent strike to withhold approximately £100,000.

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