Nieuws - 28 september 2010

Foreign students threaten to have rent strike

Foreign students in the office wing of the Hof van Wageningen hotel have had it up to here. If the management of the university does not meet their demands before Friday, they will stop paying rent.

Disappointing is how the international students describe the response of the university's management to the letter of urgency sent two weeks ago to the university and the hotel. The complaints about their temporary accommodation are well-founded: not enough showers and toilets, hardly any cooking facilities, a slow internet connection, all for a price which is too high.
But the university is hardly doing anything to lessen these irritations, say the students. 'They have not responded to our complaints', says Jan Wiedemann, a German Masters student. 'And no answer about lowering the rent either. They're working on indoor showers though, but internet access is still hardly available. What's more, now they even want to take our hotplates away.'
To add insult to injury, the students are blamed for the problems with the internet. They are alleged to have spread computer viruses and done a lot of downloading. 'I don't know how they arrived at that', is Wiedemann's reaction. 'We are computer savvy and all of us have anti-virus software. There're just too many of us here.'
A decent meal
Last Friday, about a hundred and fifty students staying in the Brink residence and the office wing came together to review their situation. 'Everyone was extremely dissatisfied with the answer from the university and the hotel', says Wiedemann. The office wing and Brink tenants have therefore sent another letter to the university and the hotel. In it, they again raised the issues of internet, showers, washing and cooking facilities, privacy, safety and the rent. Tenants in the office wing demand to have a kitchen in which they can cook. 'For most of us, a decent meal is a cooked meal', the students contend. After all, many international students are not in the Dutch habit of having bread and milk for breakfast and lunch, but eat rice or pasta and vegetables instead. Having hot meals in the hotel or the Forum every evening would - even if you enjoy it - cost a small fortune.  
Take further action
The students have again demanded to have a rent reduction for the rooms in the office wing and the Brink, the other hotel complex. They are not prepared to pay more than 5 euros per day. They also want to talk to the rector and the hotel owner.
If their demands are not met with by Friday, at the latest, they will stop paying rent. The students are considering taking further action. They will certainly do so if the hotplates should disappear.