Students occupying Owens Park tower block have ended their initial protest after striking an agreement with the university to reduce rent.
Groups UoM Rent Strike, Students Before Profit and 9K4WHAT took up residence in the deserted Fallowfield halls on November 12 and have continued to campaign for lower accommodation prices ever since.
The University of Manchester (UoM) initially put a two-week rent reduction on the table, which students called a “slap in the face“.
But negotiations continued, and protestors left Owens Park tower after UoM agreed to a 30% rent reduction for all students in semester one.
Students welcomed the reduction but warned that the protests were “not over yet“.
“This victory would not have been possible without the incredible pressure that was put onto the university’s management by the strength of a united movement of students, staff and wider community,” said UoM Rent Strike representatives.
“We will continue to organise for a January rent strike to ensure we win a similar victory in Semester 2 and coordinate with grassroot student groups on campuses across the country to ensure this victory is replicated nationally.”
The university stated: “We have agreed to give all students in University halls of residences a reduction for semester 1 totalling 30%.
“This will be provided irrespective of whether students stay in halls over the holiday period or not.
“The increase from the previously announced two-week rent reduction, announced last week, follows detailed discussions between the University, [UoM Students Union] officers and elected student representatives from halls of residence.”
UoM also confirmed they would open more social and study spaces in halls; develop a behaviour pledge; improve the reporting, tracking and resolution of maintenance issues; and work with students to enhance safety and security in halls.
The university has admitted they have “not got everything right” after a difficult first semester – which has seen accommodation flooded and students tear down “prison” fencing put up around Fallowfield halls.