Eleventh hour talks halt student protest

The planned student protest against rising accommodation fees was put on hold today following talks with senior University staff resulted in an agreed revised proposal to be put before the University Finance Committee.  Talks that were held between the Union President Martin Zaranyika, the Vice-President Community Welfare James Ward, the University Chief Operating Officer Paul Thomas and the Dean of Students Ian Dear were followed up today  with face to face discussions with representatives of the protest organising committee.

The renewed proposal includes the following 4 core elements

- A reduction in the planned increase for 2015-16

- A commitment to enable halls residents to be involved in prioritising future halls improvement budgets

- A commitment to consider differing payment options for students with non standard funding structures

- A commitment to work with the Union in developing a long term accommodation strategy with improved transparency and communication of university income through on campus accommodation

Union President Martin Zaranyika said we are delighted that the passion demonstrated by the protest committee achieved such strong support from the students that the University took notice and came to the negotiating table. In addition, we were really pleased that Paul and Ian came to talk to us today and listen to our concerns and frustrations. We believe that there is a strong and honest commitment to deliver against the proposals put forward.

I will be working with the University on the detail behind the proposal in the next week or so and will be putting the case forward at the next Finance committee in June”

The dispute centred around continuing increases year on year in Halls on campus yet the specification for domestic support in particular has reduced leaving many students feeling that the value for money of halls has decreased at a time when students are finding the cost of living ever more expensive, perpetuating the perception many share that students are seen as a revenue driver not a partner in their education.

The finance committee will meet on June 17th and the results of the debate will be published here at brunelstudents.com and more details of the proposal will be presented at the Annual Union Meeting on Wednesday May 21st at 2pm in LC-C.