‘Sheffield Hallam Rent Strike’ organiser to run for SU President

“Sheff students need officers who will call out the university”

‘Sheffield Hallam Rent Strike’ organiser, Zac Larkham, is running for President of Sheff Hallam’s Students’ Union.

Following the example of other universities such as Manchester and Nottingham, Zac organised the strike with over 500 Hallam students pledging to withhold rent payments as a reaction to poor accommodation, neglected student welfare and expensive rent contracts.

With some students paying for rooms they are not living in due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic restrictions, first year social science student Zac is calling for better support from the Students’ Union.

“Working with the Student’s Union this year has been frustrating at times, they took a while to endorse the rent strike campaign and it came after a lot of pressure” Zac said.

Explaining why he is running for President, Zac continued: “It has become clear that Hallam students desperately need officers who won’t shy away from calling out the university when it ignores us.”

You can read Zac’s manifesto here.

Zac Larkham, SU Presidential candidate. Image credit: @Zac_for_Pres on Twitter.

To further ensure that Sheffield Hallam students “have proper representation and officers prepared to stand up to the university”, fellow strike organiser, Kas Witana, is running for Health, Wellbeing and Life Sciences College officer.

They said “I am campaigning to be elected as an officer because the SU needs to be pushed as far as possible into acting as an organisation that fights for students. I am angry that the education and wellbeing of my fellow students has been so badly affected, largely due to bad decision making from senior management.”

Both candidates have been endorsed by ‘Sheffield Hallam Rent Strike’. Hallam students can vote for these, or any, candidates in the SU elections between 15-19 March.

A spokesperson for Sheffield Hallam University said “The University itself does not own any accommodation and is not a landlord. However, we want to do whatever we can to support students who are understandably concerned about paying for accommodation they may not be able to use during the pandemic.

“We are working closely with accommodation providers to try and ensure that tenancy agreements reflect the current circumstances.

“Furthermore, a Rental Hardship Support Fund is available for current students who are renting, and who have not already received a refund/rebate from their accommodation provider. We have also provided £3.8 million in hardship fund to students, distributed more than one and half thousand laptops and other essential equipment and have established free food deliveries for self-isolating students.

“As a University we are committed to support our students who need it most, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, which has had a significant impact.”

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