Thousands of students all over the country have taken part in a day of action for #copsoffcampus – in opposition to police and management attacks on protest, and for public and democratic education. Students demonstrated in London and held protests and occupations across the country. [Read more...]
NCAFC is supporting the call for a national demo and student meeting at the University of Birmingham on 29th January. [Read more...]
Time: 12 noon, 11th December. Place: University of London Union (ULU), room 3C. Contact: 07964791663 or [email protected]
This Wednesday, students will be demonstrating again. NCAFC is hosting a press conference on the day so that participants and supporters from all over the country can say why they will be there.
The past week has seen an unprecedented level of police violence on campus, with draconian injunctions from the University of London and bail conditions banning students from congregating in public in groups of more than 4. At Sussex, 5 students have been suspended for protesting, in Birmingham students have faced persecution and court injunctions, and in Cambridge, police are paying students to spy on each other. Across the country, we are being attacked, but we will not be intimidated.
We are fighting for an education system 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. The only power that management has is the power of political policing and court injunctions.
The panel will include:
- Students directly involved in the Senate House occupation
- Occupy Sussex, which is fighting against the suspension of 5 students involved in protest
- University of London Union (ULU)
- Birmingham Defend Education, who occupied in defiance of an injunction
- Cleaners from the 3 Cosas campaign, whose strike action spurred on protest at the University of London
- Trade union and academic speakers
- Green and Black Cross (GBC), the legal support network
We will also be inviting speakers from anti-police violence campaigns.
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.
• 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
Five students have been suspended at The University of Sussex. The petition to reinstate the Sussex 5 can be found here, in under 24 hours it has received around 5500 signature to demand that Professor Michael Farthing reinstates the suspended students. This statement was originally posted on the Sussex Against Privatization website
Five Sussex students were today, Wednesday 4th December, suspended by Vice-Chancellor, Michael Farthing as he exercised his “authority to temporarily suspend [their] studies and exclude [them] from the University campus.” The suspensions follow protests against the outsourcing of Sussex services to private companies, the occupation of Bramber House in support of fair pay in higher education and the presence of students at the picket lines on the December 3rd national strike.
The occupation was a legal, peaceful means of protest and one undertaken as a last resort. Approximately one hundred students entered the conference centre on Tuesday 26th November in a calm, non-confrontational manner. The occupation was not disruptive to any academic activity nor were any academic lectures rescheduled or disrupted as a result of its presence. Its purpose was to reclaim a University space now owned by a profit-driven private company and to support striking staff in their endeavours to gain fair and equal pay. Any “disruption”, then, was to the private company and its business ends as opposed to students or University staff. It raises concern that Management prioritise the concerns of a business above the concerns of their students and employees. Further, it is laughable that Management have chosen to accuse students of “intimidating” behaviour given the continued and systematic intimidation and censorship of those involved in legitimate, peaceful protests at the University.
Last year, Sussex students voted overwhelmingly against the forthcoming outsourcing (a decision made by Management without any consultation with the student body, staff or relevant unions) in a referendum held by the Student’s Union. Furthermore, a large number of students came to join the picket lines on December 3rd in support of a nationally organised strike. In spite of any such empiricism, Management continue to disingenuously assert that any protests and campaigns at Sussex are composed of a “disruptive minority” of students.
The suspended students are being scapegoated as the “ringleaders” of the campaign against privatisation. This assertion is factually flawed in that the anti-privatisation movement is, and has always been, horizontally organised and involved no leadership. As such, there are no positions or hierarchies within the anti-privatisation campaign. Management cite the Five’s “organising role[s]” in the occupation. Such language misunderstands not only the nature of the movement, but the ideas and ideals of democracy – any “organising” is, and was, always undertaken by all of the individuals in the movement.
The suspensions are arbitrary, unjustifiable and detrimental to the education of five, academically high-performing students (three of whom are also representatives in the Students’ Union). Such punishment, beyond being morally deplorable, directly contravenes rights guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights (Arts 10 & 11) and undermines the ethic of care which ought to be present in any educational institution.
It is beyond regrettable that Management continue to ignore requests by students and staff for meaningful dialogue and chose instead to intimidate, criminalise and penalise those who speak against them. Their methods and approaches are indicative of their detachment from the campus community. Intimidation, suspensions and evictions continue to be a preferred (if a more costly) way of dealing with legitimate concern and peaceful resistance at the University of Susse
A STATEMENT FROM THE UNION OFFICERS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF LONDON UNION
We have no access to the ULU website, so are using this website as an interim.
For contact from ULU call 07964791663
Send solidarity to: [email protected]; @SHoccupation
Today, over a hundred students occupied the management office of Senate House at the University of London. It was one of the biggest and most widely supported protests that the student movement in London has seen in years. The protests demands centred around the campaign for sick pay, holiday pay and pensions for outsourced workers – 3Cosas – and the threats to close down ULU, the university’s student union. It was also inspired by a wave of occupations and strikes for fair pay in HE, and raised a number of issues around the price of accommodation and the privatisation of student debt. For the full occupation statement, click here.
This evening, the University of London colluded once again with police to evict occupiers, in a violent attempt to harass and silence dissent on campus. Their actions are a disgrace, and show their disregard for both the welfare of their students and their own university community.
Hundreds of police descended on the occupation at around 8.30pm and broke into the occupation. We are still investigating what happened inside, but initial reports indicate that protesters were assaulted by both police and security: thrown to the ground, kicked and punched, and dragged to the ground by their hair. When supporters gathered outside to show support for the occupation, they were beaten back and assaulted. A number of arrests were made, and protesters are demonstrating tonight outside Holborn police station.
Occupations are a legitimate form of dissent. When our university exploits our staff, shuts down our student union, and are utterly unaccountable to the students and staff that give it life and make it function, students have no choice but to gain leverage in whatever way they can.
Tonight’s events constitute a significant escalation of the dispute on campuses. At Sussex University, five students have been suspended by their university management for taking part in similar action. We send them our solidarity: sign the petition to defend them by clicking here.
The terms of our dispute are clear. On one side is a university management that is attacking its staff, shutting down student representation, and that systematically colludes with police in order to keep control of its affairs. On the other is an increasingly united campaign of the academic community – in all its forms – committed to reclaiming our university. We are clear which side of the line we fall on.
Anyone who thinks that what happened tonight was reasonable is not fit to run a university.
For contact, call 07964791663, 07703114546, or 07540248868
To see the national callout for action, click here.
Across the country, students have picketed and occupied in support of the fair pay strikes, against exploitation and privatisation, and for public, democratic education. A large number of campuses have been occupied, and we anticipate more to come.
A fuller report will be posted in the coming day or two. In the meantime, these are the contact details for the occupations.
On Monday, students at Coleraine occupied. This is their statement. Follow them on twitter here.
The forced closure of the Senior Common Room (SCR) at the Coleraine Campus of the University of Ulster is just the latest in a long line of moves toward privatisation implemented in the last two and a half years. For instance, in the last two years, the Faculty of English has been reduced by twenty five per cent (meaning the choice of modules for students has been slashed), the university canteen has been privatised, and there are now limitations on what the Student Union Shop is allowed to sell as a result of other privatised outlets within the uni.
Now, students see the forced closure of the SCR as the final straw. This is not just about students, but staff too. The SCR has been a safe haven throughout the troubles, a music venue, a place for lecturers and staff to relax or work, and a home to a great many of our University Societies. Its forced closure to make way for an executive dining room is an insult to both the staff of the University of Ulster, its students, and all who have used it over the years. It is important that we fight for the SCR and stop the privatisation of the University which, at this point, has gone too far.
For contact, call 07964791663, 07703114546, or 07540248868
This week will see a new wave of resistance to privatisation, exploitation and low pay on campuses across the country. The past week has seen radical and significant occupations at Sussex and Birmingham, and more are going in, most recently at Edinburgh, Goldsmiths, Ulster, Sheffield and Exeter.
On Tuesday, staff again will be on strike for fair pay. This is not just a strike for fair pay – for a living wage, for teachers and researchers paid a decent salary – this is a campaign for the future of education as a public service, against privatisation and market domination and the job insecurity they bring.
NCAFC is calling for pickets everywhere and occupations where possible.
- Democratic campuses, public education: we demand that our universities and colleges are run by and for students, staff and the community – stop privatisation and outsourcing, ditch extortionate rents and stop attacking the right to protest on campus.
- Solidarity with staff and the fair pay strikes: we demand that managements support the demands of the strikes, back down in the national pay dispute, and institute and 10:1 maximum ratio on pay between the highest and lowest paid.
- Stop the privatisation of student debt: we demand that Vice Chancellors publicly write to the government to tell them not to sell off our student debt to private companies.
Student solidarity with strikes is not about just not attending classes – though students should definitely not attend classes – it is also about assisting staff in their democratic decision to disrupt the university’s normal operations. We will be solid, vibrant and disruptive.
To get involved, email [email protected]
The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC) is calling for the foundation of a national network of student housing activists.
Housing is rapidly becoming a crisis for everyone, including and often especially students. Rents are spiralling, social housing is almost non-existent, and university accommodation is becoming privatised and extortionate. Housing is one of the biggest barriers to access in education and one of the biggest causes of student poverty – to say that some have to choose between rent and food is not an exaggeration. Meanwhile, squatting is being criminalised and universities are often at the forefront of exclusionary gentrification projects.
For a number of years, students and activists – many of them in or around NCAFC – have been working to build the profile of housing as an issue, and to campaign for decent and affordable housing for all. This has taken the form of building co-ops, such as in Birmingham and Edinburgh, forming tenants unions, organising in halls, and fighting university management plans to attack communities and social housing, as UCL successfully did last year with the Carpenters Estate campaign. We need to spread this work, and co-ordinate nationally.
At our latest conference, we discussed what the next steps might be, and we are looking to call co-ordinated action (whether that be stunts, leafleting or full-blown rent strikes) around housing at some point in February or March 2014.
We now want to help initiate a network of student housing campaigns. So if you’re a student housing activist, or if you want to be, get in touch at [email protected].
This is the motion that was passed at NCAFC’s conference in November:
1. Housing has become one of the most significant issues in the student movement, and NCAFC has played a positive role in pursuing a radical and effective programme of organisation and political demands centred on tenants unions, coops social housing, rent caps, knowledge of rights and affordability.
NCAFC Further Believes:
1. It is vital that we continue to build a housing campaign, but also to learn from what we have experienced in the past year.
2. In practice the setting up of tenants unions can be difficult; we need a clearer vision for how to build housing organisations. This basically means building action and solidarity networks before structures in most cases.
1. To produce a guide on establishing housing campaigns.
2. To focus on a strategy for housing which includes:
a. Organising in halls, including with rent strikes.
b. Organising in the private rented sector through solidarity networks and tenants unions.
c. Fighting for social housing.
3. To demand the abolition of the private rented sector.
4. The creation of fully functioning tenants unions will require resources and a large amount of activist time – something that unions have and local activists often do not have. Our main demand on NUS with regards to housing is therefore that it adopts demands in line with this motion, and uses its resources to set up tenants unions.
5. To formally approach Unite the Union with a view to establishing a relationship between Unite Community branches, student worker organising, and tenants unions.