Goldsmith’s Rent Strike began at the start of January. This was due to the lies that were told to students regarding coming to halls back at the start of the academic year. This has been worsened by the appalling condition of the halls as well as issues of sexual assault and racism which have been inadequately handled by the university. 

The demands for our rent strike are: 

  • No repercussions for rent strikers and guaranteed safety for international students
  • A 50% rent reduction for the remainder of the academic year 2020/21
  • Offer all students no penalty early withdrawal from their tenancy contracts for both this and the next academic year 
  • Immediate removal of sexual violence perpetrators from halls
  • Immediate action against racism on campus
  • Maintenance responses to problems in halls to be within 24hrs
  • Increased support for isolating students
  • Increased resources for the wellbeing team and increased access to counselling 
  • A commitment from Goldsmiths to end its contribution to gentrification of the local area
  • A public apology from Goldsmiths  

At this point in the rent strike, we have had two negotiation meetings with the Senior Management Team and unsurprisingly they have used every avoidance tactic possible to make sure they have not properly committed to spending any money towards meeting our demands. 

This is no surprise considering the deep financial crisis that the university is in where even the main building of the university is at risk of being requisitioned by the bank due to a huge amount of debt. 

Off the back of this deep financial crisis, we have seen Senior Management announce another round of sweeping cuts to the university which would result in the firing of hundreds of lecturers totalling to around £6 million in cuts.

 Within these new cuts there is also a proposal to further centralise control within the university resulting in even less democracy within the university and making it impossible for staff and students to have a say in the running of the university. 

Off the back of these announcements, we have seen our universities UCU branch launch a #SaveGoldsmths campaign to fight these cuts and the rent strike has been standing in solidarity with them. The rent strike facilitated the creation of Goldsmiths Community Solidarity which brings together both student and staff groups so we can fight together against Senior Management. 

With this unification of students and staff we hope to expand the fight of the rent strike beyond just the issues of halls and fight against the marketisation of our university as a whole and build a strong joint movement that can challenge Senior Management. 

Charlotte Weston – Goldsmiths Rent Strike Organiser

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