Here is the email the UoN UCU has sent to the VP:
Dear Professor Greenaway,
We are aware that a group of students has occupied the Great Hall in protest over the planned increase in tuition fees and proposed cuts to HE funding. We share similar concerns about the financial cut-backs in Higher Education and urge you to engage with the students constructively and treat their concerns seriously.
Secretary – University of Nottingham UCU
(on behalf of the local UCU committee)
Venezuelan critical pedagogy activist Joel Linares just came and held a discussion about resistance and the struggle for making education free and accessible to all. We talked about the exciting situation in Venezuela, their 500 years of struggle, and the situation here in the UK with the national student resistance against the cuts. There were songs, guitars, and inspiring oration!
We’re still here, everyone is still free to come and go, there’s food and bonhomie. Upcoming stuff includes a dance-off this evening and several film screenings!
‘Nottingham Students defy the freeze to continue their fight for Higher Education’
Despite the snow and the heating being turned off, Nottingham Students are occupying the Great Hall in the Trent Building of Nottingham University, for a second day since Tuesday afternoon. Following a general meeting at 1pm today, the students are organising a programme of alternative education, film screenings, workshops and talks, while encouraging regular classes to continue within the space. The occupiers claim that they have doubled in number over the past 24 hours.
This action is part of a larger national student campaign taking place on campuses across the country, against proposed cuts to HE funding and fee hikes. The students are demanding that their university lobby the Russell Group and the government to change their stance and to issue a statement condemning all cuts to Higher Education, EMA and the rise in tuition fees. They have also demanded that The University implement a complete open book policy with regards to existing budget constraints, and ensure no redundancies for teaching, research or support staff.
After an unsuccessful attempt by the campaign to have a face to face meeting with university management last week, the students decided that they had no alternative but to pursue further action in an effort to defend Higher Education and the right to education for all. Since the Registrar made a statement yesterday, no further communication from the university management has been received, despite ongoing attempts by the students to initiate a dialogue.
They have been joined by students from Nottingham Trent University, Bilborough College, Djanogly City Academy and Sixth Form, and New College Nottingham. Tom Anderton from Bilborough College said that he is here because “I’ve received hundreds of emails from students on EMA who are afraid that without it, they will be unable to go to college and tuition fee rises to £9,000 would make it impossible to go to university.”
We’d like to extend our gratitude to those who have supported us with solidarity messages and support. We also would like to thank:
- The PhD student who bought trolley loads of food
- Veggie’s from SUMAC Center for providing us hot dinner yesterday
- Katie and Adam for the bedding and their car services
- Nottingham Critical Pedagogy Group
- Chaplains for tea, coffee and biscuits
- All our brothers and sisters who have shown solidarity with us throughout the world!
1 December 2010
11.00 – Media, Politics and Activism – Hich Yezza (Editor of Ceasefire Magazine)
13.00-14.00 – General meeting
14.00-16.00 – Workshop by Joel Linares
16.00-18.00 – Dance Off!
20:00 – University bows down and the conservative government steps down!
2 December 2010
13.00-14.00 – General meeting
18:00 – Marxist film screening
Emergency Motion passed at UCU Special HE Sector Conference,
Conference congratulates and celebrates the magnificent occupations, rallies, marches and other protests by students, school students and staff yesterday.(24/1/2010) They are an inspiration not just to us in the UCU, but to the whole of the trade union movement.
Conference resolves that the National Executive Committee should now build on the platform that has been provided by the 10th and the 24th, by organising a national mobilisation for a London demonstration and a lobby of parliament on the day that the fee rises are debated. It resolves to urge branches to support, however possible, the protests of staff and the walkouts on that day, and those planned for Tuesday 30th November.
Conference suggests that the NEC decide that UCU approach the NUS and all the other public sector unions to seek a joint mobilisation on that day.
Conference demands that the TUC organise regional demonstrations in the three months between now and the national demonstration on March 26th.