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Surrey University Cancels Rent Contracts After Student Group Threatens Strike

Published on: 25 Mar, 2020
Updated on: 27 Mar, 2020

Surrey University has cut short a threatened student rent strike by cancelling their accommodation contracts for the rest of the term.

A student group calling itself “Surrey Cut the Rent” had said they were planning a rent strike at the end of April because the Covid-19 pandemic had closed pubs, gyms, shops and other large employers, costing them and supporting parents their jobs and causing financial hardship.

The group claimed the university had refused to offer financial assistance and was still charging their final rent payment, due in April.

Apparently, nearly 300 students had pledged to withhold their final rent payment. A first-year law student, who chose to remain anonymous, said: “The university should have more sympathy for students struggling with the pandemic.

“Many of us don’t depend solely on student loans but other sources to help us pay for accommodation, and due to the situation, many of us don’t have those options any more.

“When we signed the contract, we believed we would be having face-to-face learning which would require us to be in on-campus accommodations but having online learning for the rest of the academic year doesn’t require this.”

Max Lu, vice-chancellor of the University of Surrey.

But a spokesman for the University said: “Students now will not be charged by us for the remainder of their contracts. This decision had already been taken by the Vice-Chancellor, and was yesterday evening ratified by the University’s Council, the highest decision-making body.”

The spokesman added: “We don’t ever penalise students academically for rent arrears.

“These are unprecedented times and the university is working tirelessly to support the health and well-being of our students who are still resident on campus. This is our first priority.

“We also recognise the genuine issues of hardship created by a situation affecting the nation and the world. We are working constructively as a university and with the student body to ensure hardship funds are available to those who need them most.”



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Responses to Surrey University Cancels Rent Contracts After Student Group Threatens Strike

  1. Keith Parkins Reply

    March 27, 2020 at 12:38 am

    Students need to recognise universities are bums on seats businesses out to make money.

    But, the University would appear to be in breach of contract not delivering lectures.

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