Photo via @amaboahene on Twitter

Students occupy Groningen University to protest housing shortage

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On Thursday, September 9, about a hundred students occupied the hall of Groningen University's Academy Building to protest the housing shortage. They only left after members of the protest group Shelter Our Students (SOS) met with representatives of the university, Hanze University of Applied Sciences, and the municipality. 

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The hundred students did not allow any teachers or students to enter the building, according to Ukrant. The meeting with the two universities and the municipality resulted in a joint statement recognising the current housing situation for international students as a social problem. "It is now finally official that this can't go on any longer," declared SOS spokesperson Marinus Jongman.

Moreover, the parties have agreed to lobby "intensely" for national policies giving municipalities and educational institutions more options to contain the influx of students, as to not compromise the quality of education and the housing market. Finally, they have agreed to arrange more emergency shelters in Groningen, as well as reducing their price.

The occupation ended with a "Homeless March" through the city. SOS stated that the protest was an "emergency measure" with the aim to also draw attention to the housing shortage nationwide, and that blocking access to classes wasn't their intention. Housing is also a problem in Utrecht, where many students are still struggling to find a place to live. A large protest is set to take place in Amsterdam on Sunday.

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