University of Portsmouth to support Portsmouth students with rent relief

This petition made change with 554 supporters!

We demand immediate action from the University of Portsmouth (UoP) on an injustice that threatens to severely impact our students. We are deeply concerned about the financial impact and inherent unfairness on students who are continuing to pay rent for their term-time accommodation despite being unable to return. Although, UoP does provide support to some students through their ‘Student support fund’, this is not accessible to all therefore, we urge for UoP to provide students with options for rent relief as soon as possible.

We are already losing out to the Coronavirus; our education is suffering, our University experience has been significantly undermined, and now we are threatened with significant financial impact too.  

The Government has already stated that:  “Given the rising infection rates, the return/arrival of all other students should be paused until at least mid-February. Providers should not offer in-person teaching before then, or later if further guidance to this effect is issued, and should encourage students to remain at their vacation accommodation until the resumption of their in-person teaching, wherever possible.”  

It is obvious that as Portsmouth students we will be losing money paying for accommodation that we cannot even travel to or use. Presuming that the earliest we can return to campus is ‘mid-february’, and given that we were asked to leave Portsmouth in early-December, and as we have already highlighted  that for over two full months thousands of us have been paying rent for accommodation we have been expressly forbidden from living in. This cannot continue!

Universities across the country have already recognised this issue and have taken action to defend the interests of their students. The University of Portsmouth must now act to do the same.  

As your students we urge for our university to recognise this injustice, and to act to remedy the problem and to stand by us through these difficult times.This can be achieved by the offering of financial rent relief options. We therefore ask the University of Portsmouth to commit to the following:  

- Publicly acknowledge the issue and the problems that it presents to Portsmouth students.

- Offer rent relief options to students in University managed housing or halls of residence.

- Help the University of Portsmouth Students’ Union lobby private landlords and private halls of residence providers to offer rent relief options or contract breaks to their tenants.

We are not alone in identifying this injustice and this issue is not just limited to Portsmouth. National Press (including the Guardian and The Telegraph) is expressing a sympathetic view and action is already being taken across the Higher Education sector.  The evidence is irrefutable and the problem can be solved. We urge the University to act now, protect your Students, and offer rent relief!

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