Today has been a momentous occasion for the student movement and the wider campaign against the coalition government’s ‘austerity cuts’ across the country.
We offer our solidarity to all those students protesting today including those ‘kettled’ in Central London, the thirteen students arrested in today’s protests and those students from Rednock School, Gloucestershire, excluded for walking out, all in protest to the cuts in education funding and rise of university tuition fees.
We thank the following groups and institutions for offering their solidarity:
· London South Bank University, University College Union
· National Union of Journalists Left
· Leeds University, Occupiers
· Birmingham University, Occupiers
· Essex University, Occupiers
· SOAS, Occupiers
· University College London, Occupiers
· Lincoln University Students
· Southwark National Union of Teachers
· Newcastle University Students
· Southwark Save Our Services
· Lambeth Save Our Services
In turn we offer our solidarity with all of the above mentioned groups and institutions in their campaigns against the cuts.
The purpose of our occupation is not only to protest against national and local cuts to higher education but also to utilize the Language Centre for its intended purpose and is now in disuse due to a management decision. We intend to use the space in a constructive manner which will demonstrate our alternative vision of higher education with seminars, lectures, workshops and film showings which are conducted without a clear student/lecturer divide. Today we have held democratic discussion, language lessons and debates.
We have now received a response from the university management to our demands and we are currently drafting a response. It is worth noting that we have previously submitted a petition signed by over one thousand students with regards to the closure of the language centre and the scrapping of emergency loans. We have received no response. Similarly we offered the Vice-Chancellor the opportunity to meet with students prior to the occupation. He declined to take the opportunity, resulting in our actions today.
We aim to raise awareness of these issues and we call upon fellow South Bank Students to join us in protesting against all cuts to education, the extortionate rise of tuition fees and local cuts at London South Bank University.
We reject the Coalition Government’s ‘logic’, endorsed by our Vice-Chancellor, that public services must be cut in response to a crisis caused by greed in the financial sector. They should be made to pay, not us!