University of Sheffield and Students’ Union respond to criticism from rent strikers

The University of Sheffield and its Student Union has come under fire from organisers of the student rent strike, who are currently occupying the Arts Tower.

Dan Walsh, Chair of the Rent Strike Committee, criticised the University and the SU, accusing both of “failing their own students.”

A spokesperson for the University of Sheffield said: “We understand this has been an incredibly difficult year for students and throughout the pandemic, we have been working closely with the Students’ Union to ensure we are supporting students in the best possible way.

“All of our support services are open and available online. Students who are self-isolating are offered a fast track to mental health support. We also contact all students who have notified us that they are self-isolating to check on their welfare and offer practical and emotional support. All students also have 24/7 access to emotional and mental health advice through the TogetherAll service.

“As part of our continued efforts to enhance our support provision in line with changing circumstances, the University also established a £3 million Covid-19 Support Fund for any students who are facing particular challenges. We will continue listening to our students and reviewing the issues they raise, as well as working with the Students’ Union to ensure we are providing students with the most effective and appropriate support.”

Beth Eyre, President of the Students’ Union, said: “The SU officer team is focused on delivery rather than bureaucracy, as seen through the £4 million back in University accommodation refunds as well as a £3 million covid relief fund which includes refunds for unnecessary rent.

“This is one of the most generous financial packages given to students from any UK university and was secured by the Students’ Union Officer team. We have a multitude of channels for listening to student voices, SU Council is just one, alongside one thousand academic reps, our surveys and the emails we receive directly from students.

“This is a time that student campaigns across the country need to be working together and directing our pressure at the government, who have forgotten students at every turn. Our agenda is to demand a better experience and further compensation for the Forgotten Students of the pandemic.”

 

Written by Konrad Ostrowski

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