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Lancaster students refuse to pay rent due to ongoing pandemic

Students have written an open letter to the Vice-Chancellor

Following other universities’ students in their plans to withhold rent payments, Lancaster University students have pledged to go on strike to reduce – and even waive, in some circumstances – rent for students who are paying for campus accommodation.

An open letter has been sent to Lancaster’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andy Schofield, which reads: “Lancaster University students have not received the services they are paying thousands of pounds in rent for. Many students have been unable to make use of their campus accommodation due to travel restrictions and lockdowns.

“Students were lured back to campus with the false promise that in-person teaching would be a feature of student life this year. This was a lie. Many students found all – or the vast majority – of their teaching to be entirely online.

“In October, as Covid-19 spread through the campus population, many students struggled to even source for themselves basic essentials such as food. Failure to address this issue and the charging of £17.95 per day for basic provisions left it to student organisers to feed self-isolating students. It is also important to note the impact this situation has had on students’ mental health, with many student-led organisations reporting increased numbers of students struggling with their mental health.

“We do not believe that Lancaster University has been either honest or open with its students, and for that reason we request:

“1. A 50% rent reduction for students living on campus

“2. A full rent waiver for students who are unable to access their rooms

“3. Meaningful action to improve the provision of essential student services, such as mental health support

“4. A guarantee that students face no repercussions for participating in strike action.”

This comes after Lancaster University has announced its plans for a staggered return of students to campus, emphasising medical students returning to the main campus first, with other students to follow.

The full open letter can be read and signed here.

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