|Cut and Cap Rent banner at Goldsmiths, May 2016|
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Goldsmiths Rent Campaign
Students at Goldsmiths in New Cross are planning to step up their campaign for a reduction in rents. Some students are continuing a rent strike they launched last year, and next week Goldsmiths, Cut the Rent is holding a meeting to launch the campaign for this year. The first meeting of the new term will take place on Thursday 20 October, 7 pm a the Stretch (Goldsmiths Student Union).
As the campaign explained back in March: 'Rent in Goldsmiths’ halls averages at £147 a week, nearly three quarters of the median london student maintenance grant. Although Goldsmiths could opt to offer below market rents to undergraduates, it instead treats student rent as ‘tuition fees by stealth’, impoverishing both middle and low-income students while returning a profit for Goldsmith’s management. Furthermore, the sell off of many of the more ‘affordable’ halls at Goldsmiths to Campus Living Village, a private company whose lowest rent across london is £154 per week, means this trend of exploiting students for profit is only set to worsen.
On top of exploitative rents, conditions in many of the Goldsmith’s halls are unacceptable. As well as no hot water, broken kitchen equipment, pipes leaking sewage and aggressive responses from hall’s management when students request things to be fixed; parts of Raymont hall had no internet access for a period of 6 months, severely limiting residents ability to conduct their studies.
Rent is everyone’s problem: a recent study by Shelter found 53% of private tenants struggle to pay rent; in London 72% of tenants total income is spent on rent alone. Whilst this dispute may be in the university, the exploitation of tenants by landlords is causing immeasurable suffering to millions'.
Last month (16-18 September) Goldsmiths, Cut the Rent were involved in organising a Rent Strike Weekender. Held at the DIY Space for London (Ormside Street, SE15), the event brought together students from 25 colleges and housing activists. A rent strike at UCL earlier in the year did win some significant concessions from college management.
Rent strike posters and graffiti from around New Cross and Deptford (photographed last month):
Goldsmiths rent protesters up on the roof