Students barricade themselves in University of Manchester building as part of rent protest
They are calling for reduced rent fees.
A group of around 15 students have barricaded themselves in the normally empty Owens Park tower in rent protest.
Students of the University of Manchester have occupied a building in protest against being told to pay full rent fees this term.
It comes after students found themselves quite literally fenced into their accommodation one morning, after metal fencing had been erected overnight.
The students who have occupied Owens Park tower unveiled a poster that read ‘this is an occupied building UoM Rent Strike’.
The students explain they have enough supplies of food and drink to last several weeks and that they will not leave until their demands are met.
They are calling for discounted rental fees due to the current circumstances, which sees them paying around £1,500 on average for their rooms where they have been locked up and unable to use any communal facilities.
They are calling for a meeting with the university’s vice-chancellor, Dame Nancy Rothwell.
Speaking to the MEN one student who is taking part in the rent strike, 18-year-old Ben McGowan, said he and up to 200 other students have refused to pay the full amount of rent for the autumn term.
He said: “The campaign has really ramped up in the last few weeks but the Uni has essentially just ignored us. They said they were going to fine us 3% extra per day that we didn’t pay the rent.
“Then they sent this email saying they could kick us off our course, although they can’t. We’ve tried to have a meeting and they’ve just refused. “
He continued: “We want a discount on the rent because of what’s happened this term, in terms of that facilities that meant to be covered by rent, things like common rooms – we’ve not got access.
“I think December should be wiped off when we’re not in. The entire campus is shut down, the cost of uni upkeep must be down, there’s no justification for the full fees.
“We are also calling for the university not to make any redundancies this year in solidarity with the staff.”
The students suggested a 40% discount for the 2020/21 year in a letter to Prof Rothwell.
It comes amid widespread concerns regarding the mental health strain being put on students who are being asked to self-isolate with little to no support.
A UK study found that suicidal thoughts have increased among young adults in the lockdown. A second study found that 80% of (medical) students with mental health issues felt under-supported, and that they had poor or moderately adequate support.
A 19-year-old who was suffering from mental health issues was found dead in his halls in Fallowfield. His father slammed the lack of support for the young people locked down due to Covid-19.
A University of Manchester spokesperson said: “We are aware of the protest by a handful of students in an empty residential building. We have made it clear to them that they shouldn’t be there and that they may also be in contravention of current national Health Protection Regulations.
“We are already engaging with elected Students’ Union representatives about many of the issues being highlighted by the protestors.
“The University is fully committed to freedom of expression.”
Boy, 11, left in critical condition after being hit by police van
Awful news this morning
A boy has been left in critical condition in hospital following an incident with a police van last night.
The 11-year-old was struck by a police van in Lancaster on Thursday night, May 25th, as the van was attending a call.
Lancashire Police say the vehicle was en route to an emergency call when the collision happened.
The boy was crossing Owen Road just before 8:30 pm when he was hit, and was transported to Royal Lancaster Infirmary in a critical condition.
A police spokesperson said: “Our thoughts are with the child’s loved ones at this time.
“An investigation is underway to establish the full circumstances that led to the collision.
“We have voluntarily referred this matter to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), as is standard with an incident of this nature.”
The IOPC said in a statement: “We have declared an independent investigation into the actions of Lancashire Police prior to a road traffic collision in Owen Road, Lancaster at around 8.30pm tonight, in which a child has been injured.
“We understand that a marked police van, with its lights and sirens on, was in a collision with an 11-year-old boy.
“We were notified by the force shortly after the collision and declared an investigation at 10.37pm. IOPC investigators are heading to the scene and the police post incident procedure to begin gathering information.”
According to the IOPC, the investigation is in its early stages.
Sam Smith cancels upcoming shows due to ‘vocal cord injury’ and tells fans ‘I’m so sorry’
‘Refunds will be available at point of purchase for all three dates; Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow’
Sam Smith has cancelled their upcoming shows due to a vocal cord injury and issued a statement telling fans, ‘I’m so sorry’.
The singer had to call off their Gloria Tour show, mid-way through, at Manchester AO Arena last night (Wednesday May 24th) after experiencing ‘vocal issues’.
The lights went off and fans waited in darkness for a number of minutes as speculation circulated on social media, with many wondering if there had been a ‘power cut’.
Moments later, after just four songs, a packed-out arena was told the show unfortunately had to be called off.
Afterwards, Sam, 31, issued a statement on their Instagram stories to tell fans — who had missed out on a ‘surprise’ that was supposed to be at the end of the show — how ‘sorry’ they were.
Today, Thursday May 25th, the ‘Unholy’ singer has issued another statement after calling off upcoming gigs.
On their Instagram stories, the star wrote: “Due to vocal issues during last night’s Manchester performance, regrettably we will be cancelling the rescheduled Birmingham and Glasgow Sam Smith shows.
“Refunds will be available at point of purchase for all three dates; Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow.
“A spokesperson said ‘Doctors have advised due to a vocal cord injury, Sam must have complete vocal rest’.
“Sam is heartbroken to have had to cancel these shows but they have been told by doctors that if they keep singing, they will do permanent damage to their voice.
“If they take some rest they will be able to perform again. I’m so sorry.”
Sam already had to push back the Birmingham and Glasgow gigs after suffering from a virus several weeks ago.
After calling off last night’s show at Manchester’s AO Arena, Sam wrote on their Instagram story: “Today in soundcheck I felt fine and was so excited to give Manchester an amazing show tonight, with a special surprise at the end.
“During my third song, I noticed something wrong with my voice. I prayed it was just my voice waking up for the show but into the fourth song I could feel something was really wrong.”
The pop singer added: “I came off stage and have tried everything to get my voice back in gear but it won’t.
“I am honestly heartbroken I couldn’t finish the show tonight for you all. I love you all. I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry.”
Body found in river in search for missing 24-year-old woman
Shannon’s family have been informed
A body has been found in a river in the search for a missing woman from Lancashire.
Police searching for Shannon Canning from Lancaster say they have found a body. The 24-year-old had been missing from home since the early hours of Friday May 19th.
A search operation was launched to find the young woman who did not turn up for work at Tipple bar on Friday afternoon.
Public appeals for help were launched by her family and the police force, who said they were concerned for her welfare as the disappearance was out of character.
Lancashire Police have confirmed the body of a woman was found in the River Lune near Halton on Wednesday afternoon, May 24th. Shannon’s family has been informed.
Patrols were increased during the week and specialist divers joined the search yesterday. Officers were called at around 4.20pm Wednesday afternoon when the discovery was made.
A statement from Lancashire Police said: “Sadly, officers searching for missing Shannon Canning have an update, following a body recovered from the River Lune.
“We can confirm that we were called today (May 24th) at around 4:20pm to a report that a body had been found in the River Lune, near Halton.
“Specialist search teams have subsequently attended the area and can sadly confirm that the body of a woman has been recovered.
“Although formal identification has yet to take place, we believe the body to be that of missing Shannon Canning.
“Shannon’s family have been made aware of this sad development and our thoughts are with them at this upsetting time.”