Hundreds defy injuction at University of Sussex

On Wedndesday as many as 700 students defied the injunction against protesting at the University of Sussex, 300 of whom then went on to occupy a lecture theatre.

This is the third time this year that the university has been occupied by students in protest at planned cuts.  The occupation started after a demonstration demanding that six students suspended for taking part in a peaceful sit-in last Wednesday be immediately reinstated. It comes in spite of a High Court injunction taken out by the university in a bid to stop sit-in protests.

University management have responded by posting a statement on their website saying that the suspended students would be allowed to resume their studies — an announcement that was met with a loud cheer inside the occupation. But according to the statement the students would still be barred from taking part in “activities on campus that are unconnected with their studies”.

This is an attempt to make an example of leading activists and intimidate the entire movement.  If the Sussex 6 are allowed to go down it will set a precedent that can be rolled out nationwide.  And if the movement stands solid behind the victimised students that will set a precedent too.  We can see some of what is at stake at the University of Westminster, where management demanded that course leaders point out students involved in the occupation – and the UCU branch immediately took a position of non-compliance.

The occupation at Sussex continues, with a programme of events in the occupied lecture theatre today including a talk on May 68 and the history of the student movement, and a video link-up with the 6 suspended students – as well as another demonstration.  Tomorrow the university is holding an open day, and unless they agree to unconditionally reinstate the 6 it is the occupation that will steal the show.  Follow updates at http://defendsussex.wordpress.com

Student occupiers from Sussex and Westminster, as well as the branch president of Sussex UCU, will be speaking at our activist meeting this Tuesday at 6:30pm in KCL.

About educationactivistnetwork
The education activist network provides national coordination for trade unionists, academics, university workers and student campaigners fighting to defend jobs and education in the UK.

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