Live updates: Sheffield students occupy the Arts Tower as part of the rent strike
They say they are staying until at least Sunday
Students from the University of Sheffield are occupying the Arts Tower as part of the rent strike protest.
Their demands include a 30 percent rent rebate for all students and an early release clause option for contracts.
There are 103 students at the university who have been on rent strike since Christmas.
The direct action is in line with rent strikers at Sheffield Hallam, who are currently occupying Cantor building.
You can follow live updates on the University of Sheffield student’s occupation of the Arts Tower here:
Activists from the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam have come together to show support for the building’s occupiers
You can read the full story here.
University management has responded to the protester’s request
The request to access the windows to put up flags has been denied by university management, who cited health and safety issues. This means they will now no longer leave on Sunday evening, and say they are staying until they are forced to leave via legal means.
SU President Beth Eyre says she feels it is “unnecessary to detriment the studies of fellow students”
She told The Tab: “I support students’ right to peaceful protest and our SU Council supported a motion regarding the rent strikers in March. I’ve personally been supportive and helpful to the rent strikers because I know how tough this year has been for students.
“Sheffield Students’ Union has already secured over 30 percent rent refunds for many students who have the University as a landlord, on top of securing the 3 million pound covid support fund for all students who have been financially impacted by covid-19.
“Our ‘Forgotten Students’ campaign is now focused on getting equal compensation for those in private rent contracts, through direct pressure on the government, who are responsible for this. We are also working on other housing demands of students, like spearheading the Sheffield Renters’ Union.
“Therefore, I feel it is unnecessary to detriment the studies of their fellow students based in the Arts Tower and am meeting with them later today with a University representative to discuss and facilitate how we bring the occupation to an end.”
One of the occupiers tells The Tab why he is protesting:
The banners are up!
The University of Sheffield is considering the rent striker’s banner request
A few of the rent striker’s banners have been unveiled
The protesters have told security what it will take for them to leave
They say if they can hang their banners from the Arts Tower they will leave on Sunday evening. If they aren’t allowed to fly the banners, they say they won’t leave until an injunction. One banner is 38 metres, the other banner is 22 metres.
The main entrance is blocked and people are being turned away
Protester’s bags are chained together in front of the Paternoster lift as they say they will stay until at least Sunday
Students walk into the Arts Tower and are met by security