Students to protest at Durham University open days

Around 140 students protested against rising accommodation fees last month
Around 140 students protested against rising accommodation fees last month

By James Poole

 

Students are set to protest against spiraling accommodation fees at the University’s post-offer open days, which begin tomorrow.

The protests, which are being organised by Durham Students for University Reform, follow a demonstration in February which saw 140 students march through the Palatine Centre shouting “freeze our fees!”

College accommodation fees have increased by 20% over the past three years, with costs set to increase by 8.5% next year.

Freshers and finalists will face a charge of £6,819 (up from £6,289) for a standard room next year, which is high compared to other universities. For example catered accommodation at Derwent College, University of York, will cost £5,627.16.

In a recent statement, the University said: “As a University we have been transparent about our costs and remain competitive in terms of our accommodation pricing.”

When asked whether the University believes student protests at open days would be justified, a spokesperson simply offered the response: “No.”

One student who will be taking part in the protests, William Pinkney-Baird, told Palatinate: “As our demonstration last month – attended by about 140 students – has been ignored by the University, we wish to show the University that we fully intend to continue our campaign for the freezing of college accommodation fees.

“We believe that if the University won’t listen to its current students, it will listen to applicants considering coming to Durham. Potential students have the right to be informed of the issues surrounding accommodation fees in Durham, so we will be talking to students over the open days and distributing leaflets.”

He added: “The more students raise these issues with the University, the more likely that something will be done. But this is only part of a broader campaign. If the University does not respond to our demands, we have plans in place to escalate our campaign over the next term.”

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