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Robinson launches ‘Cut the Rent’ petition

At the time of writing the new petition already has 58 signatures

Robinson's cut the rent campaign have launched a petition demanding fairer rents. The college was identified by CUSU as a petition demanding fairer rents. The college was identified by CUSU as a focus for the universities 'Cut the Rent' campaign. Other colleges identified that have already had petitions created for are Murray Edwards and Magdalene. The petition cites the Big Cambridge Survey 2016 to justify its need saying 'Almost 60% of Robinson students say they were dissatisfied with the value for money.'

Matt Kite, a campaign member, talked to The Tab about the motivations behind the petition. He said 'Robinson students pay some of the highest rents at any college, and the number of rooms in the most affordable category is far too low'. He highlighted that 'continuing to charge students so much, and ignoring the repeated attempts of successive JCR committees to prevent further increases, flies in the face of the college's commitment to improving access.'

The petition draws attention to Robinson's self description as 'one of the most egalitarian and relaxed colleges in which to live and work' and note how 'this is undermined by the unaffordable rents they charge.' Kite pointed out that 'as long as we continue to pay extortionate rates for our rooms, the material barriers to access will remain and students' welfare will continue to suffer.'

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The high rents are about as welcoming as the college's famous red bricks

Robinson freshers are made to live in the main building 'where the rents are unacceptably high. The petition highlights how 'all but three freshers this year (2017) pay at least £1600 per term' and 'even the value rooms are £1300 for a ten-week lease', comparatively high for Cambridge colleges. The price of accommodation was a qualm shared by Murray Edwards College in their petition. Freshers there have to pay £1820 in total per term with no option for cheaper accommodation.

In response to high rents, the petition suggests the 'college makes a 20% cut on rents', 'significantly increases the number of value rooms available' (these are cheaper accommodation options) and that 'college commits not to decrease the number of rooms in the standard and value price bands.'

Kite told The Tab that 'college have not yet responded, but we hope they will see the level of support that the campaign has already gained in a short time and see the need to take action and cut the rent.'