Striking to Win: Why is the Rent So Damn High?

11 June 2017

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Venue: Conway Hall (Brockway Room), Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL

Organiser: Rent Strike

Rent Strike is the national working group for Cut the Rent groups across the UK. We seek to facilitate the spreading of rent strikes as a tactic to campaign for affordable rents for students in university accommodation. We are a mixture of student activists and housing activists, some of us were involved in the successful 2016 rent strike at UCL.

Drastic increases in rent prices for students are tuition fee increases by stealth. We believe any call for free education must acknowledge the vital role rents play in the continuation of the current university system. In this workshop we’re seeking to discuss the relationship between the marketisation of public universities and the drastic increase in student rents since 2009/10.

Universities have been in a pissing contest to see who can get the largest property portfolio: paid for by students. If the university is preparing us for our future exploitation, it’s doing an excellent job.

Freed from any notion of welfare provision, student accommodation now forms a key component of university privatisation strategies; directly underpinning increases in tuition fees whilst undermining educational access for low to middle income students.

Last year over 1,000 rent-striking students at UCL won over £1 million in concessions in the form of compensation, bursaries and rent cuts. Despite eviction threats and attempts to victimise individual students, a collective refusal to be divided or bullied - alongside careful organisation with off-campus groups - forced successive capitulations by managers.

Join us to discuss ideas, do some sweet strategising, and plot to win!