STUDENTS occupying a university building for more than 40 hours to show solidarity to striking lecturers have been offered bananas, had a photo taken by a friendly member of the security team, and had their food supply ‘cut off’.
The Marxist society led the occupation of Whiteknights after failed talks between the lecturers union and University’s UK could mean another 14 days of strike allegedly lasting into exam season.
Students are now calling for Vice Chancellor David Bell to stand down and resign from his position for allegedly failing to react appropriately to the strike action and Universities UK response.
At least a dozen students have been in the building since 9.40 Monday morning following a morning of picketing outside Whiteknight’s entrance, where the Marxist society stood alongside lecturers during each morning of strike action.
After a gruelling 39 hour sit-in the students have claimed ‘we ain’t leaving’ and plan to remain in the building until something can be done to prevent further lecture cancellations.
Oscar Peters, one of the students currently in the building, said: “We got here around 9.40 Monday morning after the picket at the entrance to Whiteknights, which we have also been attending every day for two weeks.”
A post on the Marxist Society’s Facebook page, said: “We will stand with all staff and branches who choose to express opposition to the deal and urge UCU to reject this offer at the meeting tomorrow. Our staff deserve fair pensions, and this proposal does not offer that.
“This dispute is linked to the Government’s plans to marketise education. Education should be a free public service. Instead, universities are being forced to act more and more like businesses. Private providers – who put profit before our education – are being given more and more of a role.
“We believe in a radical transformation of our education system. We support and demand free, democratic and accessible education for both domestic and international students funded by taxing the rich and big business.”
More to follow…