The University of Bristol has warned cash withheld by college students throughout a lease strike shall be taken out of bursaries.
One scholar who’s witholding lease instructed The Independent she felt college students on bursaries have been being “pressured” in a approach others will not be.
A college spokesperson mentioned it was within the phrases and circumstances yearly that bursaries are used to pay any debt owed.
The group main the University of Bristol lease strike mentioned it determined to take motion over the college “putting the lives of students and staff at risk by bringing students to halls”.
Rent Strike Bristol have demanded no financial penalties for students who decide to vacate accomodation during the coronavirus pandemic, and a 30 per cent reduction in rent for those who decide to stay.
The group shared an email saying outstanding debts to the university and overdue payments would be taken out of student bursaries, a move which it called “shameful”.
Alice Clarke, a second-year on rent strike, told The Independent: “It feels like people are being pressured and penalised in a way that other people who are striking who aren’t on bursaries won’t be because they won’t have financial ramification — or haven’t yet.”
The 21-year-old, who receives a bursary herself, said the email had given the rent strikers “one other lease of life” to keep striking.
She told The Independent she was witholding rent as she felt students had been “misled as to how mandatory it was to be right here on campus”.
Saranya Thambirajah, one other scholar on lease strike with a bursary, instructed The Independent:” I’m most frustrated about the fact that it does target people and bursaries, and takes away our right to protest and strike in the same way as everyone else.”
She added: “Other people are still able to withhold their rent and are able to be on rent strike. Whereas if they just take the money out of our bursaries, we can no longer do that.”
Larissa Kennedy, the National Union for Students (NUS) president, referred to as the transfer by the University of Bristol a “disgrace”.
“Do they know how hard students have been hit financially during this pandemic?,” she tweeted.
An e mail from the college telling college students that they had an impressive stability — which was shared by the lease strike group on social media — mentioned: “If the debt remains outstanding and overdue for payment on 26 November 2020, the University will use some, or all, of the 2 December instalment of your bursary to offset any outstanding amounts.
“Any remaining bursary entitlement will be paid into your nominated account.”
A college spokesperson mentioned bursaries are offered to assist college students cowl prices comparable to lease.
“The terms and conditions of bursaries clearly state that if a student owes the university money then the bursary will be used to pay any debt that is owed,” the spokesperson mentioned. “This is the case every year and applies to all students who have outstanding debt.
“In addition to paying the bursary to students, we have communicated details of our Financial Assistance Fund which is also available for students who are experiencing financial difficulties.”
The college has provided a 10-day lease rebate for college kids of their accomodation, in response to authorities steerage advising college students to go residence throughout every week in early December for Christmas — a transfer it mentioned “mirrors” a rebate provided when educating was moved on-line in the course of the first lockdown.
The NUS instructed The Independent college students going residence sooner than typical as a result of authorities’s Christmas “travel window” ought to get a lease rebate.
One scholar on lease strike instructed The Independent Bristol’s 10-day rebate was a “step in the right direction” however “nowhere near what we deserve”.
“We’re not getting the facilities we were promised, we’re not getting the education we were promised, and we’re not being cared for, as they said they would,” Ollie Bulbrook added.
The Bristol University spokesperson mentioned it was “costing significantly more” to function their halls this 12 months, as a result of measures comparable to later arrival dates, elevated safety, and assist for self-isolating college students – which incorporates cleansing provides, laundry providers and free meals bins.
“We do not make a profit from student rent and all accommodation fees are used for operating, maintaining, and improving the residences,” the spokesperson said, adding the university has had “regular discussions” with the lease strike group and scholar union.
The college has vowed to present college students a two-week lease rebate, in addition to a no-penalty clause ought to they resolve to vacate their accomodation, however the strikers have mentioned this “is not good enough”.