Meeting agreed between Exeter Rent Strike and senior management
Over 500 Exeter students have pledged to withhold rent from the University to demand rent reductions for the entire year as well as further mental health support.
Senior management agreed to have a meeting on Monday 25 January after being set up by the Students’ Guild, although the group was set up on 5 January.
The Exeter Rent Strike works primarily through their Instagram @exeterrentstrike, where they gained over 1,000 followers in the first 24 hours. The group has been inspired by those at other universities like Manchester, where rent for all halls residents was reduced by 30 per cent between September and January.
The strikers are also calling for reduced tuition fees, aggrieved by the quality of education and lack of in-person teaching. One student wanted “recognition that online teaching is not as good as in person” while another argued that “the Uni lied and tricked us into coming back.”
There was also a sense of distress that those students on practical courses, who have had to return to Exeter, are living alone with inadequate mental health support. The group explained that this is currently the primary issue for them.
The Uni lied and tricked us into coming back
The Exeter Rent Strike told us before the meeting that they “feel very mixed emotions right now. On the one hand we are happy that rent has been waived for all University owned accommodation for the current national lockdown period. On the other, we realise this was the bare minimum they should have done.
“There is a lot more the University needs to discuss with us and other student representatives in order to come to a solution to the issues we have raised on behalf of students. The university’s communication has been terrible. We have sent multiple emails and had no response bar a three sentence email from the VC’s assistant telling us they would talk to student reps about our demands.”
“It’s been over a week and a half since our first email and the university have yet to meet with us. We have had an extensive meeting with the Guild who agreed all our demands were reasonable and helped us to focus on the areas we need to prioritise.
“Students are stuck in limbo, not being treated fairly and being told nothing by senior management, some transparency and honesty would go a long way.
“We, as the representatives of the student body, condemn their total inaction and appeal to them now to meet with us as a matter of urgency.”
A University spokesperson told Exeposé that the Guild had set up a meeting between the group and Registrar Mike Shore-Nye for Monday.
They said: “We have received a letter from a group of students about rent reductions and student wellbeing and the Registrar is happy to meet with the group online to discuss their concerns. We have worked with the Students’ Guild and will meet with the group early next week.”