The promotion at the University of Groningen (RUG) is over. Dozens of students have been occupying the University’s Academy Building since this afternoon. With the campaign they wanted to force more housing for students in the city.

The occupiers had united in the action group Shelter Our Students (SOS) and entered into discussions with, among others, the university board and the municipality of Groningen. The parties have made a number of agreements.

In a joint statement, SOS, the Municipality of Groningen, the RUG and Hanze University of Applied Sciences now write that they agree “that the current housing situation for international students is a social problem”. “This problem cannot be solved with more emergency shelters and more construction alone, although it must be done,” the statement said.

The parties agree that the municipality and knowledge institutions should be given more tools to better match the intake of students with the capacity of education and the housing market. National politics must create those possibilities, they write. “We will lobby vigorously for this.”

Three more appointments

The statement is one of four agreements between the municipality and the RUG on the one hand and the activists on the other. It was important for the activists that a quick solution was found for the current students without a room. “All students who are still homeless will receive emergency shelter and the price will be reduced to 6 euros per night,” campaigner Marinus Jongman told RTV Noord.

Agreements have also been made about communication with students for next year; they must be well informed about the tight housing market in the city. “That people don’t come here in good spirits and then become deeply disappointed.”

Ultimately, student rooms have to be added; that is why the Zernike Campus is in the picture. Because this can only be realized in years to come, temporary accommodation on the campus is now being considered. Jongman: “There are no promises, but there are promises that they will do their best.”

Heavy instrument

The statement is mainly intended to get the subject of housing shortage on the national agenda. In the statement, those involved acknowledge that the housing shortage in the city is also the result of the problems on the housing market. “The most vulnerable on the market, including international students, are the most victims of this. We think it is right that there is a national demonstration against this on Sunday.”

The statement also states that the occupation was “a heavy instrument”, but it would never have been the intention of the action group to block the passage of the colleges.

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