Student Occupiers Launch New Year of Student Action
About 100 students from across Scotland occupying an Edinburgh University lecture theatre this weekend promise to disrupt management at Scottish universities with an ongoing campaign of targeted 36 hour occupations. Edinburgh is one of two institutions set to fix fees at the most expensive rate in the UK for students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Robin Parker, NUS Scotland President in supporting the occupation said
“It’s absolutely no surprise that Edinburgh University students are incredibly angry about their university’s decision to cash in on English, Welsh and Northern Irish students. We stand shoulder to shoulder with those opposing £36,000 fees for students from the rest of the UK.”
The University is still refusing to provide occupiers freedom of access. With supplies, including a large donation of curry from the Edinburgh Central Mosque, being hoisted into the building with ropes.
The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, who organised the student protests outside the Houses of Parliament in December, is planning similar actions across the UK in the coming months, building up to a demonstration in Westminster on the 9th of November.
Naomi Beecroft, a University of Edinburgh second year Linguistics student said
“We aim as much as possible to disrupt management. They have refused to undertake an adequately broad student consultation on a decision that could prove to have disastrous consequences for our university. We aim to avoid any disruption to teaching.”
Patrick O’Hare, President of St Andrews University Students’ Association who was taking part in the occupation said:
“The occupation is a courageous move in solidarity with future generations of RUK students who will be priced out the market or saddled with tremendous debts.”
“The increases at St Andrews and Edinburgh are especially abhorrent and not justified by the bursaries packages which will reach a comparatively small number of students. In St Andrews, the amount cut from the RUK teaching grant was around £3,323 per student, so fees of £9,000 are more than an attempt to cover that loss. Both Principals and the Scottish Government should take their share of the blame; Principals for charging above the advised rate, and the Scottish Government for introducing Tory policies for RUK students. These fees are a betrayal of future generations of RUK students, and students and their representatives will continue to oppose them”
Amy Westwell, a Glasgow University student, said:
“In Scotland, we take great pride in our universities, for their excellence and accessibility.”
“The extent to which fees have been raised is disproportionate to the financial needs of universities, this move undermines the values of the Scottish education system.”
A University of Edinburgh spokesman said:
“The university attaches great importance to freedom of speech as long as points of view are put across in a safe and lawful way.”
The university is still refusing to turn on the heating.