Liverpool Guild launches campaign to refund 35 per cent of first semester rent to students
The Refund The Rent campaign also aims to reimburse 100 per cent of rent paid during the Christmas travel window
Liverpool Guild of Students launched a campaign yesterday petitioning for the reimbursement of 35 per cent of rent payments to university accommodation paid throughout semester one.
The campaign, titled Refund The Rent, outlines how students renting university-owned accommodation from September 2020 “deserve better” after being encouraged to move on-campus in order to receive in-person teaching.
The petition also calls for a 100 per cent reimbursement of rent paid to the university between the week of 3rd December and 18th December throughout the Christmas travel window and during the staggered return to campus dates between January and February 2021.
We have no other choice but to launch our Refund the Rent campaign and need you to show the university how important an issue it is.
— Liverpool Guild (@LiverpoolGuild) December 2, 2020
Guild President Adnan Hussain posted the petition to the Guild website, stating that although students were told that they had to return to campus in September in order to continue with their studies (except in exceptional circumstances), two-thirds of students were told on Friday 9th November that all teaching must be moved online unless stated otherwise.
Adnan argues that these students signed for accommodation under the impression that face-to-face teaching would go ahead, but as teaching is now virtual students deserve a partial rent refund.
The petition also included a plea to allow students to end a university accommodation contract without notice, which was accepted by the university on Tuesday 2nd December.
We spoke to three of the Liverpool Guild of Students Student Officers who are running this campaign to ask them why they believe this petition is necessary.
Adnan Hussain, President of the Liverpool Guild of Students, told us that the university has a “duty to put money back into students'” pockets to help with this financially difficult year, especially when accommodation isn’t a necessity for most students studying during Semester one.
“Staying at University-owned accommodation is expensive, and sometimes one where additional funds outside the typical Maintenance Loan is required – usually through part-time work which is hard to come by, or through additional funds by parents/guardians who may be affected themselves.”
📢TIME TO GET @LivUni TO PAY BACK STUDENTS TO MAKE UP FOR THE INJUSTICES THEY'VE FACED THIS YEAR 📢
UoL students sign and share this petition and remember to sign you have to log in to your Guild account first!! https://t.co/Yf5HvByy1g
— Liverpool Young Labour (@YoungLabLiv) December 2, 2020
Chloe Field, the Vice President of Liverpool Guild of Students, told us how much hard work has gone into creating this campaign.
“This campaign has come from multiple conversations with the University, where us four Officers have been consistently lobbying for rent refunds to be provided to students living in University halls of residences.
“They have refused our requests repeatedly, so we have decided the only other option was to publicly show them how many students really need this or who stand in solidarity with those living in University accommodation.
“I believe that injustice shouldn’t just be the de facto, acceptable consequence of the COVID crisis. We shouldn’t just accept the fact that young people are having their lives so detrimentally affected by this pandemic, we should instead fight for fairness and should improve students’ experiences.
“This campaign is just another step in this fight. Our next steps are to encourage as much support from the student community and to present the petition to the University in the hopes that they will reconsider our requests.”
— Nat Griffin #JoinAUnion (@NatGriffin3) December 3, 2020
Imogen De Castro Gray, the Deputy President of the Liverpool Guild of Students, told us how unfair it is to be charging students to live in university-owned accommodation.
“Students have been greatly impacted by COVID and as the landlords and educators of students in halls, it is their direct responsibility to act in student’s best interests.
“There is a clear unfairness in students taking full financial weight as a result of the Universities decisions. We are asking the university to share that financial burden with students.”
Imogen then told us that the future of the campaign is in the hands of the university and that the Guild Officers will continue to “apply and increase pressure and take necessary steps to get students what they deserve.”
The student movement to fight against rent-obsessed universities grows stronger by the day. @LiverpoolGuild and student groups working on this will have full support from @ULivUCU2 https://t.co/EYzv3URr1Y
— Anthony (@AntOH1988) December 2, 2020
The Guild Officers told The Tab that they “will have more information soon”, but in the meantime stress that all four Guild Officers feel deeply about this and they will not give up easily. Students are being urged to share the petition and check @liverpoolguild on Twitter for more updates.
You can sign the petition by logging in to your Liverpool Guild account and then clicking here.
The University of Liverpool has been contacted for comment.
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Featured image credit via Twitter @LiverpoolGuild