1,200 Bristol Uni students go on rent strike from midnight tonight

They handed their demands to uni management

Bristol Uni rent strikers have hand-delivered their demands to University management just hours before students will deliberately miss the deadline to pay the first term’s rent.

1,200 students will be withholding well over £1 million in rent in protest at what they call the “unacceptable” treatment of students during the Covid pandemic.

Supported by Bristol SU, their demands include a 30 per cent cut in rent, no-penalty contract release for students who wish to go home, outdoor access for students in lockdown, food catering to dietary requirements, mental-health check-ins, and transparency regarding the powers of security personnel.

Six rent strikers, including representatives from campaign group Cut The Rent and Bristol SU, delivered short speeches outside of Beacon House, the home of the university senior management team.

A rent striker holding their list of demands before delivering it to management

One rent striker said in a passionate speech: “Having been in isolation, I received no contact from the University, our food boxes arrived late and did not cater to the dietary requirement that the University had been told about. We received no mental health support in what was a very stressful situation, being locked in with people you barely know.

“The University has had plenty of time to plan for this, and it’s unacceptable as we feel like we’re a second thought.”

Ruth Day, Student Living Officer at Bristol SU said in a speech: “We have been supporting students since they contacted us letting us know they were organising a rent strike and we want to say that we fully support our students rights to organise over this issue, and we just want to lift their voice up.

“The University will be meeting with four reps of the strike on Monday with myself there as well. Really really proud of the strike, and Bristol SU fully stands in solidarity, and we will be supporting them throughout the whole strike.”

SU officers David Ion (L) and Ruth Day (R) were there to support the strikers

Connor from Bristol, Cut The Rent, said that he feels that the University has been “avoiding” the issue, having had limited contact from the University.

“They’ve been avoiding us for as long as they can get away with, which is disappointing, but I’m excited to see what comes out of the meeting. Contact with the University has been limited outside of official statements that they’ve released to the press. But I’m very hopeful.”

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