A petition has been launched by a Warwick student calling on the University to partially refund accommodation fees.
The petition, which currently has over 600 signatures, calls on the University to provide a 30% rent reduction for the remainder of the academic year due to the “difference in the standard of education and experience offered this year”.
The creator, Louis Wharton, a Warwick student, told The Boar that he was motivated to start the petition “in solidarity with those students across the nation who are united in this fight for fair treatment”.
“Surely by charging this fixed price, both in accommodation and tuition fees, the University is asserting that we are receiving the same overall experience as students last year.
“That hasn’t been possible and just isn’t true. This needs to be reflected in the price we are paying,” he added.
Discussing the potential of further action, Louis said: “At the moment I want to stress the need for cooperation between students and the University.
Surely by charging this fixed price, both in accommodation and tuition fees, the University is asserting that we are receiving the same overall experience as students last year
– Louis Wharton
“The end goal is to be able to open up an honest discussion and dialogue with the University about what they can offer students when it comes to reimbursement.”
In response, the University said: “Currently we are expecting up to 2000 students to remain on campus, and around 1000 in residences off campus over Christmas. Blended face to face teaching will commence at points in the first two weeks of January for WMS, teacher training, all lab based, and some performance art related students , and very soon thereafter for all other first year students.
“Accommodation will remain available for all students, as normal right through Christmas and from the start of term.
“Students will need to return earlier than the start of their teaching as they will be strongly advised to take two asymptomatic Covid-19 Lateral Flow Tests before they re-start face to face teaching, and we will continue to provide this service from the 5th of January via the government testing centre at The Slate on campus.
“Some students may also have transport arrangements and travel plans that mean that they may wish to, or have to, return at a time earlier than that which the Government has requested. As accommodation and teaching will be available and running we will not be offering any refunds.”
(UPDATE 10.12.2020 15.20): President of Warwick Students’ Union (SU) Luke Mepham said: “The pandemic has put significant financial pressure on many individuals and groups throughout society, and students are been one of these groups affected. Alongside this, Government-imposed ‘travel windows’ and other measures have resulted in students being unable to use the accommodation they are paying for.
“As such, we have asked the University to consider giving refunds to students for the duration of the ‘travel windows’ (including the duration of the staggered return in early 2021) and the holiday period, as well as a rent reduction for the rest of the academic year.
“We have also asked for more leniency for students who have entered into accommodation contracts but are now remaining overseas, allowing them to be released from these contracts without charge. I will be meeting with senior University colleagues early next week to discuss these requests.”