Sheffield Uni student strikers say Arts Tower security is deliberately depriving them of sleep
‘It’s having a serious impact on our mental and physical well being’
A group of students from the University of Sheffield, who are currently occupying the Arts Tower on strike, have claimed that university staff are depriving them of adequate living conditions in an attempt to end their protest.
Now over a week into their strike, the students are alleging that efforts are being made to stop their protest. They say these actions are having a serious impact on their mental and physical well being.
A spokesperson from the group of occupiers told The Sheffield Tab the Arts Tower staff were becoming “increasingly hostile” towards the group, depriving them of sleep by waking them up with loud music, and preventing access to their own hot water and food.
The personal kettle and microwave, brought into the building by the students, have been confiscated by staff for not being PAT tested. The students had offered to pay the university electrician to test them, but this request was denied.
The group’s spokesperson commented on the university’s response to their striking. They said the actions were a “concerted effort to try and wear them down both physically and mentally” and the treatment they were receiving had caused “sobbing” and “feelings of isolation and discomfort”.
The strikers have occupied the Arts Tower since 23 April. They are protesting for a 30 per cent rent rebate and an early release clause option in student housing contracts. They now believe these actions show the university is not respecting their right to protest.
A spokesperson from the University of Sheffield said: “The University of Sheffield supports the ability of students to express their views peacefully within the law. However, the University does not condone occupation of a building which causes disruption for other students and we would ask those in occupation to leave.
“We understand that this has been an extremely difficult year for students and throughout the pandemic we have been working hard to support them in the best possible way. The University has not charged rent to students who are unable to make use of their University owned or managed accommodation.
“While the University cannot control the decisions of private landlords, we are continuing to work closely with the Students’ Union to ensure we are providing students with the most effective and appropriate support.”
Students at Sheffield Hallam University have also been on strike and a group of Hallam students have occupied The Cantor Building for the last 10 days. They have faced issues with University staff and one Hallam student has been left with large bruises on his legs after a security guard threw him to to the ground whilst peacefully protesting.