Robinson joins ‘Cut the Rent’ campaign

Caithlin Ng 16 January 2018

Robinson College has recently launched a ‘Cut the Rent’ petition to call for lower and fairer rents, joining the wider University campaign group in their efforts.

The petition, which currently has 70 signatures at the time of writing, states that Robinson has significant problems with access, and that despite being “one of the most egalitarian and relaxed colleges in which to live and work”, its appeal has been “undermined by the unaffordable rents they charge”.

The petition cites the fact that the lowest-costing value rooms are still £1,330 for a ten-week lease – higher than most accommodation at other colleges – and that all but three freshers in 2017 have had to pay at least £1,600 per term. Incoming students are also required to live in the College’s main building, where accommodation is particularly high.

Statistics from the Big Cambridge Survey 2016 are also included, and show that nearly 60% of Robinson students were “dissatisfied with the value for money” that year.

The petition suggests that these unfair rents and the quality of accommodation have affected mental health, thereby having negative consequences on the student experience at Robinson. Low-income students are further disadvantaged by this lack of access.

A 20% cut on rents by the College is called for, along with the increased number of value rooms available. The College is also asked to commit to not decreasing the number of rooms in both the standard and value price bands.

Speaking to TCS, Robinson College Students Association President James Hedge said, “The Robinson College Students Association will formally endorse the Robinson ‘Cut the Rent’ campaign over the next few days as more and more students sign the petition. Robinson rooms are some of the most expensive at any college, and the number of value rooms (the most affordable) is far too low.

“This year’s freshers pay an average of £1714 per term, and only four out of the 275 rooms in the main college building are cheaper than £1615 per term. In light of this, the RCSA will do everything it can to support the ‘Cut the Rent’ campaign, as I promised in my manifesto.”

The other colleges that have launched ‘Cut the Rent’ petitions are Murray Edwards and Magdalene, although Murray Edwards’ petition has not been officially endorsed by the JCR. An open meeting on rent has also been planned at Corpus Christi.