Tenants' union ACORN has vowed to keep supporting the student rent strike until all rents are waived. Tomorrow, the University shall announce the details of the 'some rent reductions' agreed by University Council on Friday, but ACORN says that it won't accept anything short of the cancellation of all rent charges.
In a statement yesterday, the rent strike organisers said: 'We do not believe we will be calling for any end to the rent strike any time soon. We need rent cancellations, not reductions.' ACORN encouraged students to keep withholding their rent so a unified strategy can be agreed after the details of rent deductions are clarified on Monday:
... it is important we stick together and are all on the same page. We are doing amazingly, and this shows that we are winning, the University is taking notice of us. We can win if we just keep going and keep steadfast!
A secondary demand of the campaign asks for the vice-chancellor to meet with ACORN 'in order to ensure the welfare needs of student renters in university-managed accommodation are met at this time of great uncertainty.' But the University doesn't seem keen on officially communicating with or acknowledging ACORN, even though the union is currently representing hundreds of its students. ACORN said they were 'very disappointed' that Lancaster University did not communicate its decision to offer rent deductions after Friday's University Council meeting to the union or any tenants – only after Spineless' reportage did the decision become public.
With 650 students currently refusing to pay rent (up 150 in just the last four days), Lancaster's rent strike is one of the largest in the wave of student rent strikes sweeping the UK in reaction to the pandemic. The University's offer of rent reductions shows that this massive collective student power is successfully forcing management to reconsider their commitment to landlordism over student welfare. If the rent strike continues to grow, and students don't capitulate to the University's half-measures of rent deductions, a complete rent cancellation remains within reach.
Students living in University-managed accommodation should sign up to the rent strike if they have not already: https://forms.gle/YkZ3igu6c8bgqiX86
Anyone can join ACORN from £3 a month: acorntheunion.org.uk/join