Manchester University students could face expulsion over rent strike protests
26.05.2023 - 14:53
A group of students who occupied Manchester University buildings as part of a long-running rent strike could be excluded. Disciplinary proceedings have begun against 11 students who barricaded themselves in university buildings during the stand-off.
Strikers have been refusing to pay their accommodation fees since January. One group barricaded themselves inside the Simon Building for more than five weeks before being evicted by bailiffs.
Demands made by the University of ManchesterRent Strike group include a 30 per cent rent reduction or rebate for this year, a rent freeze across university digs for at least three years and that at least 40pc of university halls cost less than half of the maximum student maintenance loan within the next three years.
READ MORE: Join the FREE Manchester Evening News WhatsApp community
Ryan Belhadj, 20, is one of 11 students facing disciplinary action which could range from fines to exclusion. The third year physics student said: "We think they want to make an example of us, but we are fighting hard to make sure that doesn't happen.
"We were told about the proceedings the day before the exam season started, it's been timed perfectly to coincide with our exams. Students are doing multiple jobs just to survive, they're having to go to food banks.
"It's just not affordable. We want the university to do something about it. We have tried and tried to get them to listen but nothing has worked.
"It's really upsetting because Manchester has a long and proud history of protest, but the university seems determined to make an example of us and scare other people off protesting."
In a joint statement the 11 students described disciplinary action as 'heavy-handed'. They said: "[The university] is