In response to the rising student movement against austerity, in support of staff striking for better pay and conditions and in opposition to the sell-off of the student loan book, university management and the police have launched a big clampdown.
At Sussex University five students were suspended from their studies for occupying against privatisation. These students have now had their suspensions lifted. However, the university are still intending to put them through disciplinary proceedings, for which they have still not seen any evidence. A student strike and demo has been called for today to demand that the university halts all disciplinary action against these students.
In London, students have been violently evicted from a sit-in at the University of London’s Senate House against the sell-off of student loans, in support of fair pay for university workers and to oppose the University’s attempt to close down the Students’ Union. During a protest against the eviction of the occupation, students were the victims of police brutality – as this video on the Guardian website shows.
Support the national day of action to defend the right to protest taking place on Wednesday 11 December, assembling at ULU from 2pm. Join the facebook event here.
We must not be deterred from continuing to build the fightback against austerity which has prompted this backlash from university authorities and the police. Please join the national week of action to stop the student loan sell-off, which is taking place during the first week of February in the New Year.
Students at Warwick University have just started an occupation of the Warwick Arts Centre, in an act of solidarity with the university staff on strike today over a 13% cut in their pay. Read a statement from inside the occupation here.
The occupation at Warwick joins Sheffield, Edinburgh, Exeter, Sussex, Liverpool, Birmingham and Goldsmiths who have also taken direct action to support the higher education staff strike.
In an open letter addressed to Warwick University’s Vice Chancellor, Protect the Public University Warwick (the group behind the occupation) have stated that the proposed 1% pay increase for staff nationwide “is below the rate of inflation and so represents a reduction in the value of wages paid by the university. This below-inflation pay deal continues a trend in the HE sector that has seen a real terms wage decrease of 13% for university workers in the past four years."
Miguel Costa Matos, the Undergraduate Social Sciences Faculty Representative said: "Students at Warwick have shown today that they will take every action necessary to protect the Public University from the madness of austerity and marketisation. Students' demand for quality education that is not founded on the impoverishment and exploitation of staff is non-negotiable. We shall not flag or fail. Workers and students, in unity we shall succeed."
Aaron Kiely, NUS Black Students’ Officer added: “It is fantastic to see students taking action to support our staff on strike in universities and colleges nationwide to demand fair pay. The Tories need to stop cutting pay and start providing proper funding for education. Today we are sending a very clear message to the government: students and education staff are united to defend education.”
Solidarity to all of the students, who have occupied, joined the picket lines and demonstrated to support university staff on strike today! Let’s keep on building the movement!
Exeter Occupation http://exeteruniversityoccupiers.wordpress.com/2013/12/02/statement-from-the-exeter-occupation/
Occupy Goldsmiths https://www.facebook.com/pages/D3-Occupation-at-Goldsmiths/1435085110040516 Occupy Sussex https://www.facebook.com/pages/Occupy-Sussex/298629560259092
Protect the Public University – Warwick https://www.facebook.com/ppuwarwick
Edinburgh University Anti-Cuts Coalition https://www.facebook.com/EdinUniAntiCuts
Sheffield Strikes Back https://www.facebook.com/sheffieldstrikesback