We understand the frustration towards the decision taken by Falmouth University to not extend rent rebates beyond the initial seven weeks. However, we also understand that it has been taken in the wider context of ensuring that Falmouth can benefit the greatest number of students by extending the opening of facilities beyond the end of the academic year. As a Charity whose fundamental purpose is the advancement of education, the huge financial impact of the pandemic has led to Falmouth not being able to financially achieve both outcomes. As a Students’ Union, we have to support decisions which positively impact the greatest number of our members.
Following a conversation in January with the Vice Chancellor, we have been working with the University to publish a summary of Covid-19 spending. We met with their Head of Finance and Chief Operating Officer yesterday to progress this, as we believe you are owed transparency regarding where money is being spent in this extraordinary year. This will be made available online in the next week.
We understand that you are naturally drawing comparisons to Exeter students, however, the two institutions have such different financial situations which has allowed the University of Exeter to extend their rent rebate. We want what is best for all of our students, however, this is a unique situation where the size and financial situation of the universities are extremely different. Consequently, what they are able to offer their students cannot be the same.
We are aware of students looking to set up rent strikes, and that a significant number are now planning to travel once payment restarts. If you do decide to travel against Government guidance, please do ensure that you are tested on your arrival in Cornwall. You will not be asked your reasons for travelling, but it is imperative that you are tested to ensure that the potential for infection is minimised.
Please do continue to apply to the Hardship Fund if you are struggling to pay your rent, either in private or university accommodation. If you need any assistance with your application, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We would encourage you to direct your thoughts on government support for student rent contracts to your MPs, both here in Cornwall and in your home constituency.
If you wish to contact your local MP here are their details:
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Amelia Banton (SU President Experience)
Lizzy Marshall (SU President Falmouth)
Charlotte Agnew (SU President Welfare & Inclusivity)
Sophie James (SU Accomodation Officer)