Students occupying the Arts Tower served with court papers to make them leave

They’ve been in there since 23 April

The University of Sheffield students who have been occupying the Arts Tower since 23 April have been served with court papers to make them leave the building.

They’ve been occupying the Arts Tower as a protest against the university’s treatment of students during the pandemic. They are asking for a 30 percent rent rebate, and an early release clause option for contracts for all students. 

The court papers, served on 30 April, gave notice of a hearing scheduled for 7 May. This hearing will decide whether to issue an interim possession order. If the possession order is issued, the students will be legally required to leave within 24 hours. 

Recently, the occupiers have alleged that university staff are denying them sleep and access to hot food and water in an attempt to stop their protest, and said these efforts were having a serious impact on their physical and mental wellbeing. 

A spokesperson from the group told The Tab they will continue their protest and have decided to not let the impending court date impede their occupation. Although they believe the court will ‘almost certainly’ grant the possession order, they intend to stay as long as they can.

A University of Sheffield spokesperson 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.”

Other stories:

 The Streets to headline Tramline Festival as massive lineup announced

• Lecturer says fresher is either ‘too ignorant’ or ‘too cowardly’ in essay feedback 
• ‘He was grabbing me all over’: Sheffield students open up about sexual harassment