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Teaching Excellence Framework day of action #boycottNSS

Chelsea College of Art campus, University of the Arts London

Chelsea College of Art campus, University of the Arts London

On January 26th, the deadline for university submissions to the Teaching Excellence Framework, students coordinated cross-campus actions to protest against the Higher Education reforms.

Students at LSE, UCL, UAL, KCL, Queen Mary, Warwick and Bath Spa universities as well as City and Islington College put up banners calling for the Government’s plans to be dropped, and for a boycott of the National Student Survey (NSS).

The Teaching Excellence Framework is a Government scheme which is being introduced this year, aimed at measuring the quality of teaching in UK universities. It will rank universities Gold, Silver or Bronze according to metrics including NSS results, graduate outcomes and retention rates, and allow universities to increase fees by rates depending on their score. Despite major student-led campaigns on multiple campuses demanding that institutions opt out of the framework, most English universities decided to submit to the TEF.

The Higher Education and Research Bill, which is currently at Committee Stage in the House of Lords, also includes measures to make it easier for private providers to attain degree awarding powers and to become universities, as well as for established institutions to close down.

At the National Union of Students conference in April, students passed a policy to boycott the NSS as a means to disrupting the TEF until the Government backs down on its plans. The NSS is a survey given to final year undergraduates to rate their course and institution.

Ana Oppenheim from the National Executive Council of NUS, said: “The Teaching Excellence Framework has nothing to do with teaching quality, and everything to do with fee rises, marketisation and serving the interests of business at the expense of students and staff. The reforms are an attack on the very idea of public education, and we will use any means available to us to fight for its future.”

Monty Shield from the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, said: “We are fighting the Higher Education Reforms because they are going to rank up the role of private providers in our education system, majorly harming the conditions of both staff and students. Statistics from the National Student Survey (NSS) are a key part of this new system. In our boycott of the NSS we are showing the government that we have the power to take away the data they need for these reforms, and will continue to do so until they are defeated.”

For more information, contact: 07895405312, 07546233426 or 07758948478.

LIVEBLOG: #students4migrants day of action

13:49 – HERE’S Sheffield

13:23 – WARWICK are also out and about today.

13:15 – WE’VE got our first Guardian coverage.

12:59 – ESSEX have a really big turnout today.

 

12:40 – SOME absolutely great stuff happening at the Daily Mail. And it isn’t the journalism.

12:33 – WE’RE marching on the Daily Mail. Because it’s shit, racist paper.

12:22 – AND here’s Manchester SU starting their action.

 

12:21 – STUDENTS have put up lists of names of refugees on the walls – this is the human toll of how our borders operate.

12:12 – THIS just in. The Royal College of Art in Kensington are taking part. This day of action is really seeing wide participation.

12:11 – HERE’S Mostafa Rajaii – NUS International Students’ Officer – speaking to some of the crowds today.

11:53 – HUNDREDS of students have walked out of their classes at Goldsmiths!

 

11:40 – READING Student Action for Refugees have put on a great display this morning.

 

11:39 – GOLDSMITHS are getting ready

11:22 – ABSOLUTELY great stuff happening at Sussex. Banner drops, demos and stalls.

10:59 – A good turnout at City and Islington College, by the looks of things.

10:54 – AND here’s the beginnings of something at LSE. What are the bets these guys don’t actually work for the Border Agency?

 

10:53 – DEMO happening at Kingston now.

10:49 – JUDGING by their twitter presence, Essex will see one of the biggest actions today.

10:18 – IF you’re sending us stuff today, please *tweet* it at us, rather than emailing (or, if it’s something that has to be emailed, please let us know about it on twitter by DM). The handle to tweet at is @NCAFC_UK

10:15 – WORD is that we’re expecting things to kick off at around 10:30 or 11. We’ll keep you informed and updated until just after lunchtime, when I either clock off or get paid overtime. (N.B. noone in NCAFC ever gets paid – what I mean is that I will eat biscuits at a higher rate).

10:07 – STUDENTS at the University of East Anglia (UEA) are first off the mark, with a picket line and banner.

10:02 – HELLO, and welcome to our live blog of the #students4migrants day of action, called by the NUS International Students Campaign, and supported by NCAFC and others.

Here’s an initial press release:

Students Take Action to Demand Migrants’ Rights

Contact: 07850652962

Students all over the country are taking action to demand migrants’ rights today, as they participate in a day of action called by the NUS’s International Students’ Campaign.

The day, called under the banner “International Students’ Campaign Day of Solidarity” aims to encourage all students to stand in solidarity with migrants and tackle anti-migrant rhetoric and policies in the UK.  Students will be walking out of classes and holding rallies, demonstrations and stunts in support of this.  

The day is supported by organisations such as the UCU, the academic workers’ union, and the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, who recently made “No Borders” a core demand of their national demonstration.

Raquel Palmeira, NCAFC LGBTQ Rep, said “We don’t just want nicer immigration laws for international students; we are demanding a world without borders and with free migration.  We are organising a mock checkpoint at UCL, where students will be asked to sign in at a border before entering.  This might seem like a stunt but it is a reality for many international students who have their attendance monitored and live under the threat of deportation if they don’t find work.”

Mostafa Rajaai, NUS International Students’ Officer, said: “We want to send a clear message to the government that students in this country overwhelmingly reject the attitude and direction that the UK has adopted regarding immigration. The failure to respond adequately to the refugee crisis, the mistreatment of international students and the constant attacks on migrants’ rights are all part of the wider anti-migrant sentiment which is on the rise in the UK political establishment and we wholeheartedly oppose it.”

Alex Norman, NCAFC International Rep said: “ The demand for free education is empty if it is not inclusive of migrants. We cannot solve the migrant crisis and anti-immigration rhetoric by making small changes, we can only put it off.  We have to have clear demands for the destruction of borders, free movement and full support for migrants. We also express solidarity to those in Paris and Beirut, where students will have been many of the victims and those who will now face victimisation and heightened racism because of them.”

LIVE BLOG: day of action over maintenance grants cuts

17:38 — So it looks like today’s events are winding down – it’s been great to see so many different actions taking place across the country! But we can’t stop there. We won’t save maintenance grants by asking nicely, but by demanding it through sustained and diverse action both on our campuses and on the streets. In the coming weeks we have a #GrantsNotDebt demo outside BIS, local marches for education and our huge national demonstration, as well as organising for what could be the first UK student strike since 1971. There has never been a better time to get involved in the movement, so what are you waiting for? Join NCAFC now!

16:41 — Oh we do love a good chant!

16:19 — Chants of “You say debt hike, we say student strike!” outside Jo Johnson’s office. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our call-out for a student strike here.

16:15 — Cracking banner effort and great turnout from Brunel students who are on their way to see Boris Johnson!

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16:11 — Looks like Zac Goldsmith MP didn’t show up to chat to these angry students; but how could you resist this beautiful bunch?!

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15:24 — HERE’S an excellent piece in the Huffington Post on the student strike by Alasdair Clark, of Fife College SU.

15:21 — Sajid Javid’s office under seige. Is it the menacing students that have intimidated him into running away, or just the very well-painted banner?

https://twitter.com/DefendEdBrum/status/644868825272451072

15:19 — REPORTS of old women hitting protesters. Woah!

It was probably an undercover cop.

15:14 — IF you’re watching this thinking “god, this is fun – but surely we can’t beat a majority Tory government by ricking up to their office with a sartorial placard”, then, well, you’d be right.

We need to mobilise.

So, if you haven’t already started, get mobilising for our national demo on November 4th.

And, if you haven’t already heard about it, check out our plan for a national student strike. It’s so good the Telegraph picked it up yesterday.

14:21 — AND the picket is live in the North West, where Free Education Manchester have rocked up at George Osborne’s office.

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14:13 — A quick flashback to the autumn of 2013, when we did the same thing to Lib Dem MPs; eventually, they u-turned on the sell-off of student debt.

There aren’t many of them left now. Remember when Vince Cable was an MP?

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Photo credit: Oscar Webb

Hi Vince!

He’s probably watching this in his pyjamas.

14:09 — MORE hilarious scenes at Jo Johnson’s office, as rural police face an UNRULY LONDON MOB LED BY VICIOUS ACTIVISTS, who are standing around politely asking for working class people to be let into universities.

No, seriously Jo, we don’t need to come into your office, we just want into uni.

14:08 — AFTER a break, we’re back. A reminder to keep tweeting us your updates at @NCAFC_UK

12:54 — Look at this wonderful group of activists on their way to visit Jo Johnson’s office, after being confronted with numerous police officers in the process. They will not be deterred!

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12:42 — Some angry students are off to pay Zac Goldsmith MP a visit to demand #GrantsNotDebt and #FreeEducation for all!

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12:36 — Some rather hilarious memes coming in from Warwick for Free Education activists, who witnessed Chris White MP fleeing his office earlier today in order to avoid students!

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12:33 — Great work from UEA SU as they get their message on the radio during their demo outside MP Chloe Smith’s office.

12:27 —– MP Louise Ellman is now on board – well done Liverpool SU!

12:23 — Manchester SU representatives are meeting with Labour MP Jeff Smith.

12:20 — Ridiculously heavy police presence as a few activists are en route to Jo Johnson’s office!

12:14 — Liverpool students are meeting with Louise Ellman MP and raising concerns about the grants cuts.

11:59 — Sussex Student’s Union just got Caroline Lucas on board, shock horror.

11:50 — Congrats to Warwick activists who held a noisy demonstration outside Chris White MP’s office. Rather than speaking to them and engaging in a debate, he decided to flee the scene instead..

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11:46 —  Today’s day of actions is covered in Times Higher Education

11:42 — UEA students and officers have put together a rather large petition to take to their MP’s office this afternoon

11.32 — APPARENTLY a noise demonstration has forced Tory MP Chris White’s office to close for the day in Leamington Spa. Details to follow.

11:06 — WHILE we’re waiting for the day of lobbying to progress beyond twitter, here’s a banner from Birmingham. It does what it says on the tin, and is nicely painted. 8/10

 

10:42 — BEING reminded that there is an Early Day Motion (EDM) which your MP can sign if they’re against the cuts to grants – as long as they’re a backbencher. Which actually excludes loads of our usual allies, as many of them are in the Shadow Cabinet.

Anyway, here it is if you want to get your MP on it.

UPDATE: it’s been brought to our attention that Shadow Cabinet people can actually sign EDMs – it’s just been used as an excuse by some reticent Labour front-benchers in the past.

10:35 — IT’S been pointed out to us  that most of our readers will be too lazy to open the links to the pre-made blogs advertising the actions happening today (we listed these at 10:16). So here are some ones to watch out for later today:

  • Manchester will be hold a demo outside the Chancellor’s constituency office.
  • There will be two big protests by Londoners: one at Zak Goldsmith’s office (called appropriately by Goldsmiths SU) and one at Jo Johnson’s office (called by Arts Attack and UAL SU)
  • Birmingham is holding a demo at an as-yet-undisclosed location
  • Warwick are mobilising at Leamington Spa MP Chris White’s office.

And there are many dozens more – from rowdy rallies to quiet handshakes with sympathetic MPs – all of which will be happening throughout the day, and all of whom will no doubt be offended not to have been included in this initial list. We await your bitter tweeting.

 

10:22 — EDGE Hill SU are the first off the mark, getting their MP on board this morning, while most of you were eating porridge or grunting into the morning light..

 

10:16 — OK, so some things that will be happening today.

  • Check out this blog on anticuts.com, which lists events local groups are planning.
  • Check out this blog on the NUS website, which does the same thing but in a shinier, more mainstream way.

10:08 — SOME placards from Free Education Manchester, who are going to pay George Osborne a visit later today.

Be afraid, Chancellor, be very afraid.

No really, we are going to make your life very difficult if you don’t u-turn on this.

 

09:58 — HELLO everyone, and welcome to today’s live blog of the NUS-called and NCAFC-backed day of action over cuts to maintenance grants. A quick reminder of what we can expect today:

  • Lobbying of MPs at their constituency offices, as per Bath SU’s charming interaction with their MP on twitter.
  • Demonstrations and pickets of MPs, especially in places where the MP is already crap.
  • A lot of social media activity, on the hastags #GrantsNotDebt and #CutTheCosts

And maybe much more. Who knows?

No, seriously, if you know about an action, or want to send us photos, please get in touch and let us know by tweeting at us: @NCAFC_UK

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LIVE BLOG: NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION

21:45: GOOD NIGHT! PRESS COVERAGE AND ROUNDUP FOR THE DAY OF ACTION

You can see our press release here.

Meanwhile, Warwick Free Education can be found here, and their protest tomorrow here.

And to keep in touch with the campuses still in occupation, check out Sheffield and Lancaster.

Expect more to come in the coming days, especially this Saturday!

21:31PM: SHEFFIELD STILL GOING STRONG

Sheffield occupation is still going strong.

“Staying in overnight! More events tomorrow, so stay tuned. The most valuable contribution is for people to come along and take part. Solidarity with all others that have taken part in fighting for a free and fair education today.”

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21:29PM: ARRESTEE SUPPORT IN COVENTRY

 

19:21PM: VIDEOS OF WARWICK POLICE VIOLENCE

Videos have been online for over an hour now and have spread around the internet very quickly.

 

19:12PM: WARWICK FREE EDUCATION STATEMENT AND BLOGPOST

Warwick University Free Education have put something out about today’s protests. You can read it in full here.

Here’s an extract:

At the peaceful sit-in at the bottom floor of senate house police were called and reacted with extreme, disproportionate and unprovoked violence. Several police cars turned up and a police riot van as well as a police dog. We formed a human chain but they broke through using CS spray (active agent in tear gas) on many activists at close quarters, a taser gun was held up and threatened, it was also suspected to be used. Activists were punched, pushed onto the floor, dragged, rammed by their throat into the wall and kneed in the face. We were staging a peaceful protest and it was totally unprecedented; we were sitting in a circle talking in university space. At least 20 students were assaulted by university security and police. Three arrests were made, please do arrestee support if you would so wish. They have been taken to Coventry central police station. THIS IS OUR UNIVERSITY! COPS OFF CAMPUS!

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19:11PM: NCAFC PRESS RELEASE

Read it in full here.

18:50 PM: WARWICK STUDENTS HAVE CALLED A #COPSOFFCAMPUS PROTEST FOR TOMORROW

Click here for the Fb event

18:19PM: LANCASTER OCCUPATION PRESS RELEASE

For the full thing, click here.

Here’s an extract from Lancaster Occupation’s press release, released at just before 6pm.

 At a time when students are already experiencing a severe crisis in living standards, whether it be in terms of stagnant pay, unaffordable housing costs, poor job prospects and mounting debts, the decision taken by the University’s managers to further extract money from hard pressed students is an absolute disgrace. Post graduate students are already facing severe issues in terms of funding their degrees, whilst a 5% increase in fees for International Students in material terms, with fluctuating currencies, could lead to some students facing an over 50% in fee costs. Paul Mason has spoken of the current generation of graduates being ones with “no future,” and if Management’s proposals were to go through, then the future awaiting currents students would indeed be financially bleak and insecure.

As an occupation, we have agreed upon [a list of 7] demands, which we put forward to Lancaster University Management.

We send solidarity to other university students currently engaged in direct action at their own campuses in opposition to both management and central government policies which work to impoverish and disenfranchise students and other members of their universities, and wish them well in their campaigns.
In solidarity,
Lancaster University House Occupation

17:54PM: SOME PHOTOS FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF EAST ANGLIA

You can see more of these on Defend Education UEA’s facebook page.

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17:52PM: MORE EVIDENCE OF CS SPRAY 

 

17:13PM: WARWICK UPDATE – AT LEAST 3 ARRESTS.

3 arrests and use of pepper spray and tasers confirmed. The use of these would be unprecedented in a campus protest situation (as far as we know).

If you want to contact anyone at Warwick for comment, call 07833446627

17:06PM: WARWICK OCCUPATION STORMED BY POLICE

Warwick occupation has been stormed by police. Reports are that police threatened protesters with CS spray and tasers.

16:34PM: BREAK

We’re going to be taking a short break now, but we’ll be back online soon. Keep tweeting on the #freeeducation hashtag and if you need urgent advice call someone using the ‘contact’ tab on our website (above).

16:32PM: WARWICK ARE DOING A SIT IN

15:44PM: HERE ARE LANCASTER’S OCCUPATION DEMANDS

  1. No rise in tuition fees or rent now or in the future.
  2. Transparency of finance. – where does the surplus go? – Participatory budgeting.
  3. Fair pay for staff.
  4. Maintenance of student bursaries and scholarships.
  5. Care leavers bursary.
  6. Mental health support and funding. – more counsellors. – better health services.
  7. More funding for student services.

 

15:36PM: LANCASTER ARE BEING DENIED ACCESS TO TOILETS

Lancaster University are denying occupiers access to toilets. Tweet at @LancasterUni to demand that they’re allowed them!

 

15:31PM: THE OCCUPATION OF UNIVERSITIES UK HAS ENDED

Students marched out at at about half past 3, chanting and singing. They are now marching round Bloomsbury.

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15:28PM:  GET READY FOR WARWICK

‘Cause they’re about to start their demo.

15:17PM: OCCUPATIONS HAVE STARTED GETTING MESSAGES OF SOLIDARITY… FROM EACH OTHER

It’s the best kind of solidarity there is.

 

15:14PM: WE’RE STILL INSIDE UNIVERSITIES UK

The police have closed in, but occupiers still in high spirits. One protester comments:

“UCL activists managed to storm the two sets of doors. We are all buzzing but I reckon the popo will move in soon.”

14:57PM: STUFF IS HAPPENING AT SUSSEX UNI AFTER THEIR CAMPUS DEMO

Exactly what, we’re not sure. We’re finding out what’s happened now; in the meantime here’s a banner being painted for it this morning.

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14:51PM: ONGOING OCCUPATION AT KING’S COLLEGE LONDON

 

14:41PM: AND WE’VE GOT ACTION IN… CAMBRIDGE

Cambridge have started their day of action. Just a banner drop of a prelude to something more? We don’t know yet, so stay tuned.

14:35PM: MORE FROM MANCHESTER

14:30PM: STUDENTS STILL SITTING IN AT KCL

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14:19PM: LONDON IS COMING TO UUK – AND THEY’VE BROKEN IN

UCL have showed up at Universities UK. Another group of students subsequently swarmed into the lobby. The occupation is growing!

14:14PM: AND ANOTHER PICTURE FROM UUK

14:04PM: HERE’S A PICTURE FROM UCL FROM BEFORE. 

13:58PM: UNIVERSITIES UK OCCUPIED

Here’s a picture. The mood is good natured and there’s a band playing.

13:52PM: UNIVERSITIES UK HAS BEEN OCCUPIED, PRIMARILY BY SOAS STUDENTS

There is a live video from Russia Today happening here.

We’ll bring you more updates as we have them. Universities UK is the Vice Chancellors’ union – they’re basically like a gang of batman villains.

 

13:49AM: MORE SCENES FROM UCL – THEY’RE RUNNING ABOUT A BIT

13:34PM: MANCHESTER ARE IN OCCUPATION

13:25PM: IT’S “ON” AT KING’S COLLEGE LONDON

13:24PM: TALK OF “IMPROMPTU DIRECT ACTION” AT UCL

13:20PM: SCENES FROM LANCASTER

13:01PM: BATH ARE STILL BLOCKADING… OR AT LEAST MAKING A POINT

 12:59PM: MANCHESTER ARE MOBILISED ON CAMPUS

12:49pm: LANCASTER ARE IN OCCUPATION AS WELL

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12:46pm: HERE IS SHEFFIELD’S STATEMENT

This afternoon we have gone into occupation as part of a nationwide movement against tuition fees, and in favour of free education.

In the UK today we are forced to endure a system in which you are either put off higher education by the prospect of paying £9,000 fees a year,  or accept the burden of an amount of debt that you will likely never be able to pay off. We think that this is totally unacceptable and morally abhorrent, and argue that education is a universal human right that should not merely be reserved for the wealthy elite, or for those willing to sell themselves to the banks.

As such, we are issuing the following three demands to the management of the University of Sheffield:
1. Lobby the government to scrap tuition fees
2. Give all members of staff that are employed directly or indirectly by the university a living wage in line with the national standard (as set Loughborough University and the Living Wage Foundation)
3. Halt the privatisation of the services that maintain the university, and in particular the Students’ Union

In order to make this point, we have chosen to occupy the Inox Dine restaurant. Inox is designed purely to generate private profit, and is almost universally loathed (by those who know it exists). It is clear that Inox is not intended to improve the student experience; its prices are extortionate and it advertises business lunches and champagne, and yet for some reason it is located in the Students’ Union building. We can think of no place on campus that is more painfully representative of the neoliberal degradation of our university, and of education in general.

Rather than merely occupying this space, however, we intend to  regenerate it into what it should be, and transform it into a place of learning. For the duration of this occupation, let Inox Dine be known as the Free University of Sheffield. We will be opening up this space to students, academic and non-academic staff, and members of the public to come and take part in organising and attending workshops. These can be  anything from practical to academic, and political to apolitical, insofar as they conform to our dedication to providing an education that is non-hierarchical, collectively and directly democratically run, and universally safe and accessible. In doing so, we hope to prove, if only within a limited time and space, that education can be free, and much more equitably run.

If management seek to destroy this occupation, let all bear witness to the fact that they have nothing to do with the genuine provision of education, and are instead its plunderers.

You are warmly invited to join us!

Solidarity to all who believe in an education that is free and fair.

The Free University of Sheffield.

 

12:30 PM: SHEFFIELD UNIVERSITY IS OCCUPIED
09:00 AM BATH UNI STUDENTS HAVE BLOCKADED THEIR UNIVERSITY

6:00 AM CAMEBRIDGE LEFT THEIR MESSAGE OUTSIDE BIS

Here is their statement:

n the early hours of Wednesday, December 3rd, a group of us entered the site of Eastbrook House, an office complex on the outskirts of Cambridge which houses the East Office of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), and defaced the front of the building with slogans such as ‘education: not your business’.

We did this in solidarity with those taking part in today’s day of walkouts, occupations and demonstrations. This is part of the ongoing campaign for free education. At the National Demonstration for Free Education on November 19th, several people were beaten and arrested by police thugs outside London’s BIS office.  One protester was denied treatment for his injuries in custody and was hospitalised immediately upon release.

In targeting BIS we are attacking both state and private control over education. BIS is the state department responsible for managing higher education, regulating business and ‘maintaining economic competition’. That these responsibilities are lumped together epitomizes the increasing control business has over education. Cambridge is a city dominated by the University, a symbol of power and privilege for centuries, which is in turn increasingly dominated by multinational corporations. This takes the form of corporate sponsorship of courses and funding agreements that prioritize profit for the few over education for the many.

We do not merely seek a return to education prior to the introduction of fees. We demand an education that is free both financially and in the sense that it is democratically controlled by those who participate in it and is accessible to all, not just a privileged few.

Recent years have shown that voting and peaceful demonstrations have failed. We have been ignored, lied to, kettled and beaten. This confirms the need for more direct tactics, of which tonight’s action was a small part.

 

CHECK OUT OUR PRESS RELEASE FOR THE DAY:

Contact: 07749263622, 07891714146, 07989235178, 07821731481,

  • Around 20 campuses mobilise for day of action for free education
  • Occupations, blockades and local protests take place on same day as the autumn statement
  • Further localised action expected on Saturday 6th December

Today, students across the country are taking part in a day of action for free education while the government delivers another round of cuts and austerity in parliament.

UPDATE: SEE OUR LIVE BLOG FOR ROLLING COVERAGE.

By 8.30am, Cambridge students had already defaced the front of the local Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), and the University of Bath was blockaded by students. Many more actions and marches are expected in Lancaster, Manchester, UCL, SOAS, Birmingham, Sussex, Royal Holloway, Warwick, Gloustershire, Sheffield and many others.

The day of action is called by the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC) as part of a campaign of protest and direct action this autumn. On November 19th, 10,000 students marched on parliament in the biggest demonstration of its kind since 2010. On December 6th, local protests will happen again, aiming to bring communities and workers into the fight for free education.

Deborah Hermanns, from the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, said: “Today’s actions are part of the development of a mass and concerted campaign for free education. We are witnessing a resurgence of student activism, not just against tuition fees but for an alternative vision for education – which is democratic, public and accessible to everyone. The only way we are going to win this is through direct action.”

Callum Cant, from Warwick University Free Education Campaign and NCAFC, said: “Across the higher and further education sectors, managers – especially in the Russell Group – are backing fees, cuts and privatisation. Today we are making the point that that is not representative of anyone, and we are demanding that management recognise the democratic will of students and staff: for free education.”

Hattie Craig, from Birmingham Defend Education and NCAFC, said: “We are protesting today because the only way that students, workers and ordinary people can have an impact is by taking direct action. This Saturday, Birmingham, Warwick, Loughborough, Nottingham and Leicester will be holding a joint regional demo for free education, and there will be marches all over the country, bringing in local workers and communities. Free education is not a ‘student issue’ – it is for everyone.”

Notes

  1.  NCAFC is a democratic coalition of students and workers fighting for free education and against fees, cuts and privatisation in education. It has 600-700 members and has existed since 2010

  2. The facebook event for the Wednesday December 6th local marches and rallies is here.

NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION: Support the Lambeth College strike!

Lambeth college1**We call on all student activist and workers’ organisations to support this call and mobilise for the Day of Action. Please get in touch to cooperate on this: [email protected] or 07840 136 728.** [Read more…]

Updates from #copsoffcampus National Day of Action

Want to continue the fight for democracy, workers rights, free education and against police repression? Join activists from local campaigns across the country at this demo and conference in Birmingham on 29/1/2014.

  •  Breaking News: Aberdeen and Manchester Universities are in occupation – solidarity!
  • Protests in Leeds, London, Aberdeen, Sheffield, Manchester, Nottingham, Derby, Leicester…

Leeds University Protest

Who killed Mark Duggan?

Stay safe everyone:

Paul Mason (Channel 4 News) reporting from Malet Street, London today “This is the new face of student protest…This is not the generation of three years ago, this is freshers from Oxford, Birmingham, Sussex”

Leeds Student Resistance #copsoffcampus demo:
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Photos from Sheffield protest today here.

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Quote from Manchester Anticapitalist students:

“a group of supporters stormed into the Social Responsibility office to occupy and make the point that any University which cuts courses, invites the police to attack their students, and refuses to support staff demands for decent pay, cannot honestly call itself socially responsible.”

Students and protesters assembling outside ULU.

Demos and solidarity protests in London, Manchester, Nottingham, Derby, Cardiff and Sheffield due to start in five minutes (2PM).

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3 Cosas campaign/IWGB send solidarity to #cops off campus Day of Action

iwgbThe Independent Workers of Great Britain trade union branch at University of London, in which the university’s struggling outsourced workers are organised, has sent a solidarity message to today’s Cops Off Campus Day of Action (11 December). [Read more…]

Legal advice and support from Green & Black Cross for 11 December Day of Action

gandblogoGreen & Black Cross, who do legal support for grassroots environmental and social justice struggles, have produced “Key Advice” for the 11 December “Cops off campus” Day of Action. [Read more…]

#copsoffcampus: NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION

Attend the facebook event here.

In the past month universities across the country have been subject to unprecedented levels of violence from the police, targeting a resurgent wave of activism against the privatisation of the university system.

Across the country, students are initiating a vibrant, popular, winnable fight for democratic and public universities, free from exploitation and repression. We cannot be beaten if we stand together.

In the past week, police have violently evicted, beaten, and arrested students from peaceful occupations in London and sent undercover police officers to spy on students, arresting 3/4s of the union sabbatical team. They have attempted to recruit students to act as informers against fellow student activists in Cambridge, and attacked protests against outsourcing in Sussex. Across the country, managements are using injunctions and violence to suppress dissent; at Birmingham, students were threatened with
£25,000 court costs.

The scale of the police’s response has never been witnessed on British universities. Students beaten, strangled, having teeth punched out, dragged across roads, and violently bundled into vans. This cannot be allowed to continue.

The violence of the police is not just a student or education issue. For years the Metropolitan police have been able to beat, arrest and murder citizens in London with impunity; the IPCC functioning as nothing more than cover for unaccountable, systematic violence.

Groups all over the country are calling for a national day of action on Wednesday December 11th – with local action and a demonstration in London. This event is being set up as a reaction to this call; we are relaying this call for urgent solidarity.

***What is #copsoffcampus?***

We stand for an education that is public and democratic, free for all. Campuses should be places for inquiry, critical thinking and dissent. Across the country, students and workers are fighting for that vision. Students and workers united hold all of the legitimate power. We are the people who give our institutions life and make them function.

The only power that management ultimately has is police and state violence. They can’t win the argument, but they can – and do – call in the cops, assault and intimidate us. With an agenda of austerity, the authorities are behaving in an ever more violent and repressive way.

Our response is to mobilise harder.

Meet at 2pm at the University of London Union (ULU)
If you cannot make it to London on the day, or want to stay local, do something on you campus.

• #copsoffcampus
• Democratic campuses, public education
• Solidarity with staff and the fair pay strikes
• Stop the privatisation of student debt.
• Against the police/austerity agenda

Contact NCAFC: Daniel Cooper, ULU Vice President, [email protected], 07840-136-728

Fight the privatisation of student debt, and for fair pay in HE and FE – join the national day of action

vc1The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts is joining with local groups across the country to call for a national day of action against the privatisation of student debt and in solidarity with the pay dispute in higher and further education.

On 20th November:
1. Take action against the sell-off of student debt: protest, teach out and make some noise in your local area
2. Do protests, stunts and occupations in solidarity with the pay dispute: demand that your management agree to the demands of all 3 major unions in HE and FE.
3. Target local MPs with embarrassing stunts if they refuse to oppose the sell-off

Background:

Since 2010, the government has pursued a policy of market-driven vandalism in higher education: fees have been tripled, EMA scrapped, and we have seen the worst cuts to universities in British history; and since the higher education white paper was ditched in 2012, many of its marketising and privatising policies have been put into practice without even a vote in parliament. They have no democratic mandate whatsoever for these policies.

In June, the government announced that it would be selling off the student loan book for all students and graduates between 1998 and 2012 to private companies. As it stands, this will happen in 2015, and because student debt is so toxic, it will mean either a government subsidy for the private companies or a hike in interest and repayment rates on student loans. This would be the equivalent of a vast and retroactive stealth hike in tuition fees for every student since 1998. Governments have used debt sell-offs before, but this time rises in repayment rates are a real possibility like never before.

We publicly wrote to the Liberal Democrats in September demanding that they ditch this disastrous and nonsensical policy – and we have written to many of their MPs individually since then – and we have received no response.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has since said that the government will not lift repayment rates. This assurance is meaningless: there is no reason to believe that any future government would stick to this ‘pledge’ – as the past 15 years of betrayal and lies have shown. The only way to ensure that repayment rates do not rise is to put the student loan book in public hands.

Students and ordinary people have faced betrayal after betrayal at the hands of this government, and we will not sit back and let them sneak this disastrous policy under our noses.

We are demanding:
– That the government and all political parties guarantee that student debt will not be sold off
– New legislation protecting future students from ever facing rises in interest and repayment rates.

We also have an Early Day Motion which all backbench MPs can sign:http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2013-14/542