Last month Uni of and Hallam students joined forces to protest in support of students rent striking and occupying buildings. The protestors are fighting for a 30% rent rebate and support from the universities as they claim they could not safely occupy the houses they rented last year, given Covid-19 restrictions. The protests come after a year of unrest and disappointment for the students, who feel that they are not getting the university experience they paid for due to the pandemic.

Where did the protest take place?

Starting at Weston Park, the protest moved to the Arts Tower, down West Street and towards the Cantor Building. Along the way, there were speeches by protest leaders and chants such as ‘Whose fees? Our fees!’. At Uni of, protestors have occupied the Arts Tower, whilst at Hallam, students have taken over the Cantor building. At Uni of, there are 103 students who have been rent striking since Christmas and SU President Beth Eyre says she ‘supports students’ right to peaceful protest’.

What happened at the protest?

However, the protest has received widespread attention after a Sheffield Hallam protestor was restrained by security. A video posted on Twitter shows the security guard holding the protestor down by the neck with the caption ‘How do you feel about your security assaulting students @sheffhallamuni?’.

But this isn’t the only incident reported by strikers, as photos posted on Twitter show another student pinned down by the neck and another with a ‘huge bruise’ on their leg after being ‘assaulted’ by security. The securitys’ behaviour has been widely condemned online, and a spokesperson for the university stated they ‘fully support students’ rights to express their views through peaceful protest, and are committed to continuing dialogue with the protestors’.

Following the University of Sheffield’s rejection of protestor’s requests to hang banners in the Arts Tower windows, the occupation continues until they are forced to leave via legal means. Meanwhile, protestors at Sheffield Hallam continue to occupy the Cantor building.

The protests are still unfolding, with Twitter accounts for both university occupations. Watch the occupations unfold on social media to show your support!