‘This is not a rent strike’

Alys Brown 18 October 2007

Students at King’s are currently engaged in sensitive negotiations with their college over room rents following the removal of hobs from kitchens.

In the name of health and safety, the only cooking facilities left in gyp rooms are microwaves.

Despite much discussion there was no uniform reaction to the move amongst the student body.

While many students have yet to pay their college bills, Tom Deacon – Co-ordinator of Kings College Student Union (KCSU) – is adamant that this is not a rent strike.

Instead he suggests that KCSU is “working with College authorities to secure the best possible self-catering facilities for students.

“Following a meeting to discuss practical solutions about facilities, KCSU contacted college explicitly requesting a delay in the sending out of bills”, he told The Cambridge Student.

“Thus, a KCSU motion was passed supporting individual students contacting their College Tutor to request permission to delay the deadline for payment of their College Bill until the matter is resolved.

“This is especially important because many students are unhappy, unwilling or financially unable to pay their College bills given the change in facilities and the increased overall cost of their living expenses.

“It is by no means a rent strike, rather a means of registering protest and financial difficulty arising from the removal of cookers from Gyp Rooms using the official college channels.”

King’s College students have been strongly affected by this issue.

A third year undergraduate questioned by TCS said: “It’s ridiculous. As a vegetarian I end up going to bed starving every night.

“I’m living off cereal bars at the moment.”

A fresher displayed a more favourable attitude to the move. “It has had some good consequences; it’s made the first year grow closer together and unified in opposition”, she told The Cambridge Student.

Still, the issue remains that altering cooking facilities may have exacerbated the ‘health and safety’ threat rather than providing a solution.

Without adequate provisions in their communal kitchens, some students have installed ovens in their rooms.

One undergraduate has not been impressed with the consequences: “In my halls” he said, “there have been five fire alarms going off in the last four days.”

 

Additional reporting by Stephen Brothwell and Catherine Watts

Students at King’s are currently engaged in sensitive negotiations with their college over room rents following the removal of hobs from kitchens.

In the name of health and safety, the only cooking facilities left in gyp rooms are microwaves.

Despite much discussion there was no uniform reaction to the move amongst the student body.

While many students have yet to pay their college bills, Tom Deacon – Co-ordinator of Kings College Student Union (KCSU) – is adamant that this is not a rent strike.

Instead he suggests that KCSU is “working with College authorities to secure the best possible self-catering facilities for students.

“Following a meeting to discuss practical solutions about facilities, KCSU contacted college explicitly requesting a delay in the sending out of bills”, he told The Cambridge Student.

“Thus, a KCSU motion was passed supporting individual students contacting their College Tutor to request permission to delay the deadline for payment of their College Bill until the matter is resolved.

“This is especially important because many students are unhappy, unwilling or financially unable to pay their College bills given the change in facilities and the increased overall cost of their living expenses.

“It is by no means a rent strike, rather a means of registering protest and financial difficulty arising from the removal of cookers from Gyp Rooms using the official college channels.”

King’s College students have been strongly affected by this issue.

A third year undergraduate questioned by TCS said: “It’s ridiculous. As a vegetarian I end up going to bed starving every night.

“I’m living off cereal bars at the moment.”

A fresher displayed a more favourable attitude to the move. “It has had some good consequences; it’s made the first year grow closer together and unified in opposition”, she told The Cambridge Student.

Still, the issue remains that altering cooking facilities may have exacerbated the ‘health and safety’ threat rather than providing a solution.

Without adequate provisions in their communal kitchens, some students have installed ovens in their rooms.

One undergraduate has not been impressed with the consequences: “In my halls” he said, “there have been five fire alarms going off in the last four days.”

Alys Brown

Additional reporting by Stephen Brothwell and Catherine Watts