The University of Birmingham has refused to reduce the prices of its accommodation amidst nationwide calls for a ‘rent strike’.
With a third national lockdown in progress, the government has advised students against travelling back to university accomodation, despite many still paying full price for their rooms.
Rent strikes are being urged by some, with Instagram pages being used to co-ordinate efforts.
This is not the first outbreak of student protest that has ocurred as a result of accommodation during lockdown, with buildings at Manchester University being occupied in November.
University of Birmingham targeted
Aside from Instagram pages for individual strikes, there is a national account, with a list of specific universities where rent strikes are planned, including the University of Birmingham.
Even with the University of Birmingham being one of those singled out, the university has so far not informed students that rent costs will be lowered or rebated.
In a statement, the university said:
“With regard to the rental payments for University-operated accommodation, the University’s first priority is always for student safety and wellbeing, ensuring that the appropriate support is given to students arriving into their accommodation and to those who are remaining in their accommodation with us. We are currently reviewing our position on rent payments and we will contact all students in University accommodation directly with further updates as soon as they are available.”
Other universities in Birmingham
Not all universities have done the same, however.
After protests from students, Birmingham City University offered a full rent rebate to students staying at home during lockdown, and reduced rent by £50 a week for those using the accommodation.
Similarly, Newman University has offered rebates on student rents for at least six weeks. In a statement, the university said:
“The university considers it not appropriate for students to pay for accomodation when…they are unable to return to the halls of residence.”
For private accomodation, Unite Students, which also serves as the accomodation for Aston University, has halved prices for at least a month beginning on January 18th.