Glasgow University Student Tenant Union publishes open letter to University management

By Ollie Rudden

A new student protest union at the University of Glasgow has launched and are already making their voices be heard.

Glasgow University Student Tenant Union is a new union set up by student tenants, which claims to defend student tenants at Glasgow and campaign for lower rent and better living conditions.

This morning, the new union took action in solidarity with Manchester University, outside the University residence of Principal Sir Anton Muscatelli at The Principal’s Lodgings on campus. They put metal fences in front of his doorstep , to represent the fencing in of Manchester students last week. Here they pinned their open letter to the University as well as a sign which stated in all capital letters: “This is for your own safety Anton”, calling back to the justification given by Manchester management for their fences. 

Glasgow University Students Tenant Union sent a copy of the open letter to The Glasgow Guardian and says the following:

“To the senior management team of the University of Glasgow,

Students have been put at unnecessary risk and encountered hardships related to their university accommodation. GUSTU believes that the senior management of the university have failed in their duty of care to students living in university provided accommodation. Further to the demands made by the Glasgow University Solidarity Collective, GUSTU demand immediate action and open dialogue with University representatives at the highest level. These are what GUSTU as representatives of University of Glasgow students are demanding:

1. No expulsions for students withholding rent if rent striking is in effect; Students were given false confidence in the health and safety standards of the accommodation they booked into and should not be punished for a reasonable response.

2. All students in halls need the right to terminate their contract early; if they don’t feel safe in university accommodation then they should not have to pay to leave!

3. We need a cap on rents; rising rents are pricing working-class students off campus and creating a knock-on effect of gentrification. Rising rent is a barrier to education. Rents should be capped at 1/3rd of student income!

4. Testing and tracing must remain accessible for all students living in university-provided accommodation.

5. Full PPE and testing priority for all university employed staff including teaching and ancillary staff working on campus or in university accommodation. Lecturers, administrators, janitors, cleaners, security and other workers must be protected.

“6. We demand an inquiry into what planning took place for the induction of students moving into halls, the mistakes which caused the outbreaks. This should be led by democratic committees of students and staff at all levels (not just senior management).

7. Full solidarity between campus staff and students, we all need to struggle for a safe university to learn and work in!

GUSTU are a collective of students dissatisfied with the rising price of rents for student tenants. Student tenants, particularly tenants residing in halls of residence should not be held accountable for the management of outbreaks of coronavirus. Responsibility lies squarely with the University for encouraging students to take up places in these residences and thereby ignoring risks to students health and wellbeing. We are convinced that the University’s decision in the reopening of its student accommodation was based purely on their motives to generate profit, not for the purposes of enhancing students’ learning and university experience. This includes the University’s lobbying of the Scottish Government to relax its restrictions.

Until our demands have been met and the university is cooperating with GUSTU and other student-led groups, we will mobilise and support students living in University provided accommodation take action against the university.

To join Glasgow University Student Tenants Union for free (no membership fees), follow the link to our Instagram page: @uofgstudenttenantsunion

Share this letter widely, to get more folk involved in the union.


Glasgow University Student Tenants Union (GUSTU)”


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Lorne Barnaby

Cannot find them on Instagram with that handle