Student protesters occupy University lecture theatre

Article published: Monday, November 29th 2010

Students have been occupying a lecture threatre at the University of Manchester for almost a week following the first decentralised national day of action against education cuts and tuition fees.

At 4 pm 24th November, following the protests held in Manchester opposing the Coalition’s proposed education cuts and fee rises, a small group of protestors entered and occupied the Roscoe Building of Manchester University. Those holding the building on the first day allege that they were denied heating and access in and out of the building and say that the only time occupiers were able to come and go from the building was during normal lecture times.

The occupiers sent out a list of demands from the University including

  • A pledge not to increase fees and not to implement cuts
  • A statement saying the University is opposed to increased fees and cut
  • No victimisation of students involved here, at Millbank court or any other protests
  • Protection of university staff in danger of forced ‘voluntary redundancy’
  • To open their accounting books for inspection
  • Provides an open door policy for the occupation
  • Supports a call for more protest action, including strikes and occupations nationally from students and workers alike

So far it is not clear whether the management has given a substantive response to these demands.

Friday saw an open school day, with lectures and open seminars run on the economic crisis, the modern trend of neo-liberalism, and the tactics of the student movement as a whole.

The group is now larger in number than at the beginning of the occupation, which they attribute partially to video calls from fellow occupiers across the country including Brighton, Cambridge and Leeds. They have received support from the national UCU delegation, Unite and individuals such as Billy Bragg, Aaron Porter, Arthur Scargill and prominent American linguistics professor and political activist Noam Chomsky.

During the weekend the building was completely closed off but the group say that they were able to hold out on food that had been delivered during the week.

This Monday saw a revival of spirits with meetings and talks held throughout the day although a threat by management of legal action resulted in the group allowing students to attend lectures.

Despite this the group heard a speech given by Colin Barker, a 1968 occupation veteran.

There was also a mass meeting in which the group planned for the second national day of action, which will be held at University Place on the 30th November and 12 noon.

A statement from the occupiers said: ‘We’re now focusing on building for Tuesday’s national day of action as well as continuing the momentum and the mood around our city. We would like to express a great deal of gratitude to all of those who have supported us throughout the week, despite management’s attempts to starve us out and deny free access, we would like to express solidarity with the occupations across the country’.

Joe Broady

More: Cuts, Education, News


  1. Students will have to stick together to win.All students must refuse to pay.All must sign on for jobseekers allowance on the day fees are due. Uni’s cannot operate without your money, no money no wages for lecturers staff or buildings they cease to exist. Picket foreign students as they will be only source of income.Be prepared to have a year out at their expense .What will the lib con pact do.Higher unemployment higher costs the teaching staff all on your side they will be finished

    Comment by Ian on December 12, 2010 at 10:01 pm

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