Students’ sit-in at university building in protest over ‘unfair treatment’

Students at the University of Manchester have occupied a building on campus in protest to how the university has responded to students during lockdown.

It comes just days after students pulled down barriers put up by the university after they felt “caged” in.

One university student said: “They are quite literally treating us like animals in cages.”

Students have occupied the university building in an attempt to protest against hall rent and the unfair treatment they have been given since lockdown began.

Students are demanding a meeting with Nancy Rothwell, President of the University of Manchester, and said: “We will not stop until our demands are listened to.”

Frances O’Grady general secretary of UCU said: “The UCU have warned consistently that the desire to bring the consumer, who are students, back to campus would end disastrously.

“Management have insisted that your education and indeed your mental wellbeing would be better served being back on campus and you as individuals have been weaponised at every point in this process by a management whose only concern was getting you on campus to pay fees.”

The occupiers official Instagram states that demands include:

  • “For the uni to meet with and agree with the #UoMrentstrike demands
  • For UoM to commit to no redundancies for the rest of the pandemic.
  • For the UoM to maintain consistent contact with the UCU 
  • No penalities for occupiers or rent strikers”

The rent strike comes after students have been unable to use full facilities due to the Coronavirus pandemic, with some moved out to live with family unable to get money back.

NUS president, Larissa Kennedy said: “It shows an education system rotting at its core.

“The university are prioritising profit above all else.”

The official rent strike TikTok account have also posted a series of videos showing unfair treatment from security guards and police.

One video shows security throwing a students takeaway meal to the ground after students attempt to give it to an occupier inside the building.

Many students are angry due to the lack of support given to them by the university of Manchester in lockdown.

A University of Manchester spokesperson said: “We are already engaging with elected Students’ Union representatives about many of the issues being highlighted by the protestors.”

However, the students are still demanding to speak to Nancy Rothwell.

They said: “No comments from her have been made as of yet, she cut off our WiFi in retaliation but was forced by our local MP to put it back on.”

One of the occupants added: “Nancy, if you are listening we want a meeting with you. Nancy, we just want to talk.”

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