Students protest against high college accommodation fees

The following is an article provided by Palatinate.

This Monday, a group of students protested against high college accommodation fees outside the Bill Bryson library.

The protest was organised by the newly formed Trevelyan College Left Society, and attended by members of Durham University Labour Club, Young Greens and Durham Students for University Reform.

Millie Tanner, president of Durham Students’ Union, was also in attendance and gave a speech addressing the crowd.

Jasmine Simms, Secretary of Trevelyan College Left Society, told Palatinate that “there was a total of about 150 students in attendance over the course of the protest.”

According to the press release the action was “in response to the prospect of above inflation rises in accommodation costs.”

The protesters chanted and handed out leaflets to passers-by.

The leaflet argued that Durham accommodation fees were out of proportion to those of other nearby universities.

“A standard catered room in college is almost £2000 more than nearby universities York and Newcastle.”

According to the leaflet, poorer students will be priced out of attending Durham University.

“In the past three years college accommodation fees have risen by 20%, reaching a peak of £6,819.

“With maximum maintenance loans only £5,500, this causes major problems for students who are not from wealthy backgrounds.”

The protestors have made two key demands to the University.

These include a two-year freeze in the spiralling rise in accommodation fees and a commitment to fully consult the student body when agreeing those fees in future.

In a comment seen by Palatinate, Jasmine Simms said: “It is simply unacceptable that the University is pricing out students from poorer backgrounds in this way.

“We believe in public education, accessible to all.

“As Durham students, we demand an immediate freeze to the price of living in College.”

Photograph: Charlotte Warmington