UK: Sussex University occupation issues statement

November 20, 2010 at 10:30 pm (Building Occupations, Student Occupations) (, )

Occupiers of the Fulton building at Sussex University today issued a statement from the occupation explaining their reasons and putting forward demands.

From Defend Sussex:

Statement from the occupation:

November 15, 2010

This afternoon, over 170 students occupied the lecture theatre in the Fulton building at the University of Sussex in protest of the trebling of tuition fees and the attack on our education system.

In light of Wednesday’s demonstration, which saw 52,000 people come out in opposition to the government’s proposed cuts to education and raising of fees, we feel it is necessary for further action to consolidate the efforts made so far and push on in the opposition to these ideologically motivated cuts to both education specifically and public services as a whole.

We reject the notion that these cuts are necessary or for the benefit of society. There are viable alternatives which are not being explored. While the government has suggested that ‘we are all in this together’, we completely reject this and are insulted that these cuts are being pushed through alongside reductions in corporate tax. We feel these cuts are targeting those who are most vulnerable in our society.

Furthermore, not only are these cuts damaging our current education, but are changing the face of the education system as we know it. The hole in finances left by government cuts will inevitably be filled by private interest. This marketization of education will destroy the prospect of free and critical academic enquiry, on which universities should be based. The trebling of tuition fees will further exclude another swathe of society and make university accessible only to the rich.

We reject the media manipulation of the occupation of Millbank. The cost of the damage to 30 Millbank is less than insignificant when set against the damage of lost livelihoods and destruction of public services for future generations.

This occupation recognises that Aaron Porter’s statements condemning the demonstration are counter-productive and serve only to divide and segregate the movement. We are disappointed that, as a national representative of students, Aaron Porter’s statements have detracted from the real issue at hand by focusing on the events at Millbank Tower.

We believe that this Tory led coalition government has no mandate for lifting the cap on tuition fees. Nick Clegg has openly manipulated student voters in his campaign for election, and following the recent exposure of plans to drop his pledge to reject any rise in tuition fees, this occupation condemns his dishonesty and undemocratic methods.

Education is a right, not a privilege.

– We demand the University of Sussex management makes a statement condemning all cuts to higher education and rise in tuition fees

– We are opposed to all cuts to public services

– We oppose a rise in tuition fees

– We call for solidarity and support for those arrested or victimised on Wednesday’s demonstration

– We stand in solidarity with others taking action, both nationally and internationally, in the fight against austerity measures.

– We call for all other university, college and school students and staff to strike and occupy in defence of the future of our education system, and to participate in the national day of action on the 24th November 2010.

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UK: University occupations following London student protests

November 16, 2010 at 6:27 pm (Building Occupations, Student Occupations) (, )

Students at Manchester and Sussex universities have staged occupations following the NUS/UCU march against tuition fees and cuts last week.

Around 200 students began an occupation at Sussex University today.

One student reported that “about 200 students went into occupation an hour ago at Sussex University. A statement is being drawn up at the moment. Messages of support can be sent to sussexstopthecuts (at) gmail.com.

If you are a student at sussex or brighton please join the occupation in Fulton building on Sussex Campus and bring along your friends, food, drink, sleeping equipment etc…

Follow the occupation on Twitter: http://twitter.com/stopsussexcuts
Website: http://defendsussex.wordpress.com/

On Thursday, almost immediately following the protest in London, over fifty students occupied the John Owens building at Manchester university to demand that the books be opened. The university is in the process of starting a voluntary redundancy process, while denying any actual cuts are planned. The occupation was decided at an anti-cuts meeting that afternoon, while it ended the same day, students at the meeting reported that it had forced the issuing of a statement by the vice chancellor, and was used as an opportunity to plan further action.

At Royal Holloway University in London, students staged a short protest when Conservative MP and Secretary of State Philip Hammond and Lord Chancellor Ken Clarke visited the university last week.

anticuts.com reported that having heard very late on that the Ministers were coming a spontaneous protest was organised, dedicated students gathered to voice their opinions over the proposed 40% education cuts, receiving cheers and horns from supportive students driving past.

Students delayed Clarke’s departure from the campus with a nonviolent road blocking chanting “No ifs, no buts, no education cuts!” Clarke told the students that “unfortunately there aren’t enough rich people” for there to be any alternative to the cuts. Philip Hammond left The Founder’s Building by foot heading to car park 12. As he walked away students chanted and posed questions. When asked “Are you happy about the education cuts?” Hammond conceded that he was not happy about the cuts, adding that he felt there was no other choice. Mr Hammond, himself a multi-millionaire, chose not to answer a question regarding the disparity between how the cuts will affect the poorest 10% compared with the richest 10%.

Students peacefully blocked the exit to car park 12 singing chants until Police and RHUL security pushed them out of the way. The only upset came when students saw that Mr Hammond was using his mobile phone whilst driving and the Police refused to do anything. The demonstration ended with clapping and high spirits with students pleased at being able to remind the Government members of their commitment to campaigning against the education cuts.

Prior to the London protests, students at Goldsmiths in London occupied Deptford Town Hall, also in protest against cuts.

To discuss these occupations, the demo on the 10th November, or the day of action planned for 24th November, see the Autonomous Students Network forum on this site.

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