by Ben Michaels,
This is a petition of support.
This it the facebook event with much of the dispute on it.
Over the past 2 days, Sheffield Hallam Union has found itself in the middle of a row over student democracy.
The controversy arose when a petition signed by over 500 students was submitted to the union to call for a referendum on the issue of lobbying the university to issue its budget based on the needs of students and staff.
This would budget would include the halting, and reversal of, course privatisation; the scrapping of the recent fee rises, as a step towards free education; the university to retake ownership of student halls; and a living wage for all staff employed by, and on behalf of the university. Calling for the extra funds required to be made up form executive pay, selling off university assets and linking with other universities to demand the remaining money from government. » Read more..
The government’s education minister, Michael Gove has just announced plans to make school holidays shorter and working days longer. His prized ARK academy chain already has a school day lasting from 8.30am until 4.30pm and summer holidays that are just 4 weeks long. Gove has even said half-terms ‘no longer make sense’. If he gets his way we’ll hardly have any decent breaks at all! We have to stop him.
The government wants schools that teach students to be compliant – schools that stifle imagination rather than foster it. They want schools that leave pupils well prepared. But not well prepared to learn, grow and develop throughout their lives. Well prepared to accept the drudgery of low paid, insecure jobs that are all young people are currently offered. GCSE reforms will see teaching return to a style used 50 years ago. Now he wants a school year that emulates those used in dictatorial regimes like China.
But students and teachers don’t have to take this lying down. We have to fight back. We should start with protests and rallies, and if the government won’t listen we can organise strikes and student walk-outs. If we are organised and united with our teachers and other workers, we can stop this vicious, out of touch government of the rich in their tracks.
By Jack Poole
With less than 24 hours notice, around 200 people gathered on Sussex campus to protest management’s attempt to get a court injunction on the occupation. If granted, this injunction would likely lead to management attempting to evict the occupiers from the conference centre. For over a month, this conference centre has been the base for the anti-privatisation campaign at Sussex, organising dozens of demonstrations and marches, including Monday’s national demo which saw up to 2,000 students and workers angrily descend on management offices.
The demonstration today (Wednesday 27th), saw that anger continue, and was faced by a police presence on campus not seen before Monday’s demo. Riot vans waited in the car park and FIT teams were stationed on the roof of management’s building, which was locked down and closed again.
It is clear the huge demonstration on Monday has frightened management, weekly demonstrations and the formation of a rank-and-file union organisation is not going to look attractive for any of the private companies lining up to take the contracts of the privatised services. An attempted eviction now looks likely in the coming days – however this will not be easy, the occupation remains strong and today’s demonstration shows how quickly the campaign can mobilise. Riot police had to retreat from outside management’s building on Monday’s demo!
But even if they do manage to evict the occupation it is clear the campaign doesn’t end with it, occupation is only a tactic and others can now be explored. This must include strike action by workers on campus, which will be an essential component of a successful campaign. Students can strike as well, ideally joint action between workers and students would escalate the campaign going into the new term. Attempts to crush the movement through force will strengthen the resolve of students and workers to fight management’s brutal privatisation programme and defend education at Sussex for the future.
anti-cuts, anti-privatisation, demonstration, injunction, occupation, Occupy Sussex, occupysussex, privatisation, protest, riot police, Sussex Uni, Sussex University, University of Sussex