Report from Birmingham University occupation
November 3, 2011 Leave a comment
Yesterday around 50 students at the University of Birmingham occupied the corporate conference centre on the top floor of the Staff House building in protest against massive cuts to our education system, as well as the wholesale privatisation outlined in the higher education whitepaper, and with the intent of building momentum for the national student demonstration on the 9th of November in London.
The occupation followed a demonstration in the centre of the university, where students gathered at the clock tower and marched around campus. After speakers called for direct action, we marched into the Staff House, with a small group managing to reach the conference room and the rest occupying the stairway next to it.
The occupation held a general assembly, in the spirit of the Occupy Wall Street movement. There was a mood of solidarity with staff, with the assembly calling for better pay for staff and a reduction in the amount of money taken by management – at the University of Birmingham, already poorly paid staff face pay cuts and their pensions being slashed while management recently awarded themselves an 11% pay rise. On £392,000 a year plus perks, our Vice Chancellor David Eastwood is the second most highly paid in the country.
The assembly urged students to join the demonstration on the 9th of November, as well as to take action on the 30th of November when lecturers will be out on strike.
It was decided that we would all leave the occupation together to minimise the chances of victimisation from management. 5PM was chosen as the time to end the occupation in order to leave on our own terms without drama from security.