NUS says it’s ‘disgusted’ with University of Manchester after ‘violent’ eviction of rent strikers
Students were dragged out by private bailiffs this morning at 5:21 am
The National Union of Students (NUS) has launched a scathing attack on the University of Manchester after it employed private bailiffs to evict its own students from the Simon building this morning.
Chloe Field, the NUS vice-president, said she was “disgusted” at the actions of the university following the “violent eviction” of students.
It comes after student protestors, who had occupied the building for six weeks, were awoken this morning by officers from National Eviction Team at 5:21 am for the university-organised raid.
Videos which emerged on social media and shared with The Manchester Tab showed numerous students being carried out by black-clad officers as bailiffs grabbed students’ legs and arms before marching them out of the building.
A spokesperson for the University of Manchester said “it very much regretted having to do this”. The university defended its decision, adding: “This action follows multiple requests to those occupying the building to leave, and court hearing papers being served on the occupiers on 15 March 2023. The Court granted the University a possession order on Monday, and copies of the order were served to the occupiers.”
National Eviction Team, who carried out the operation describe themselves as the “UK’s number one eviction team”. The company boasts having a “100 per cent safety record” and tells potential clients: “We are discreet, working to ensure that the eviction is undertaken with due care and consideration, avoiding conflict and reducing tension wherever possible, for those present and for your reputation management.”
Today’s action by the University of Manchester seems to have done little to help protect its reputation.
The NUS said it was “disgusted but sadly not surprised that instead of meeting the occupiers and addressing their entirely reasonable concerns for affordable rent, the University decided to move straight to taking their own students to court”.
The university’s decision to employ private bailiffs rather than engage and negotiate with rent strikers has equally drawn criticism over fears the cost of hiring the external company will invariably be passed onto students.
The NUS said the university has “wasted students’ money”.
The vice-president added: “We send our full solidarity to all those students who have stood up for what’s right and taken action on sky high rents as the cost of living crisis continues.”
Manchester Rent Strike said: “Shame on University of Manchester that they would rather do this than consider basic demands for affordable rent.”
The group has vowed to continue its fight for the group’s demands to be met, and have called for more students to cancel their direct debits to the university before the next rent payment installation. It remains to be seen whether this will lead to further protests or whether the university will take steps to address the concerns of its students.
A University of Manchester spokesperson said: “This morning officers of the High Court attended the Simon Building to enforce a court order, following a small group of students who had been illegally occupying rooms there since 13 February 2023.
“This action follows multiple requests to those occupying the building to leave, and court hearing papers being served on the occupiers on 15 March 2023. The Court granted the University a possession order on Monday, and copies of the order were served to the occupiers.
“We very much regret having to do this, but the situation has been going on for a significant amount of time and has caused ongoing disruption to students and the people who work in the building.”
National Eviction Team has been approached for comment.
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