Students organise rent strikes against the University of Sussex

Students still in university accommodation are still being made to pay rent, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Students unable to leave campus due to the coronavirus lockdown are organising rent strikes against the University of Sussex.

Despite cancelling rent payments for students able to move home before the lockdown began, the University is continuing to charge students full price if they have had to stay on campus during the pandemic. Other universities, such as University of Brighton and University of Surrey, have announced the cancellation of rent payments for all students that have been left in university accommodation.

In reaction, Sussex students are organising rent strikes for students remaining on campus, including many international students who are unable to return home.

A google form has been set up for students who wish to take part in the action. The page states: “Many students simply do not have the funds to continue paying huge sums of rent, due to reduced hours in casual employment, total redundancy or unforeseen monetary complication.

“The university has a duty of care to its students and should not be compliant in putting students through further financial anxiety during a period of such uncertainty and despair.”

A list of demands to the University has also been published, which includes: “Rent for the rest of the academic year 2019-2020 to be cancelled” and “To offer pastoral care for those on campus in isolation via a helpline”.

The demands also states: “As an institution with millions of pounds in reserves you CANNOT ask students to follow strict isolation guidelines, many thousands of miles away from their family and friends, and continue to make a profit off of these circumstances.”

Speaking to the Tab Sussex, one international student who is unable to leave campus, said: ““Why am I having to pay for extortionately priced accommodation which I had no choice but to stay in?”

“I don’t want to be paying back a loan for accommodation that I had no choice but to remain in. My radiator doesn’t even work when it’s freezing.”