Kent, Cut the Rent!April 27, 2016
At a recent meeting of the Kent, Cut the Rent! campaign we revised our demands which are below. We strongly look forward to the coming year as we move towards direct action to deal with the issues facing this campus. If we stand together, we are strong!
Our aims are presented below:
The rent on campus at UKC is already above the national average, being one of the highest in the UK outside of London, and UKC is planning to push the rent even higher. This is while the Vice Chancellor is getting a £43k pay increase and is being criticised for lavish over-spending on travel expenses.
This rent increase is an attack against working class students and is a form of social cleansing through the commodification of education. No one should have to go into debt in order to gain an education – education is a basic human right, which is becoming increasingly privatised in order to yield larger excesses of revenue, which is then put into pay-increases for those at the top. UKC made £11.7m in excess revenue in the last academic year, yet students are being squeezed even further than before. Students are already unable to go to university due to the high costs it entails, and further costs imposed by the administration create further obstacles for students wishing to simply receive an education.
Our immediate demands are as follows:
1) Cut the rent across all accommodation on campus by 40%.
– UKC rent prices are higher on average than a typical maintenance loan, which is supposed to be used on day-to-day expenses as well as rent. Currently, students are forced into work in order to pay for simple living costs.
2) Open the books on how rent fees are being spent.
– Just where exactly are the extortionate fees we’re paying actually going? UKC is a public institution and it is our legal right to know how are rent fees are being used.
3) More student positions on the University Council.
– The University Council has only two student positions. At this level of student representation, the general student body has no feasible way of making of making its voice heard. We believe student representation is a fundamental necessity of a public institution intended to serve students, and the number of student positions should be sufficient in order to have a majority vote on decisions affecting life on campus.
4) UKC should act as guarantors for foreign students.
– Foreign students are unable to acquire off-campus accommodation if they do not know anyone in Canterbury who can act as a guarantor. UKC charges overseas students even more rent than for UK students, and the fact they choose not to vouch for these students as a guarantor traps them into paying these extortionate fees. It should be every student’s option whether they wish to live on or off-campus, and foreign students are no exception.
5) Complete transparency on how the university funds and student fees are being spent
-The Vice Chancellor is already under fire for her lack of transparency – where exactly is our money going?
6) The University Council and school administration must endorse free education
The idea that education is a fundamental human right is at the heart of this struggle, and the model of the University as a business which the University of Kent and others have adopted is in direct contradiction to these values. We should not be alone in our efforts to attain this right. The University in general must adopt a stance to aid the struggle back towards affordable, state funded, education. They must do so publicly.
SUPPORT THE CAMPAIGN!