Nottingham Students Against Fees and Cuts enjoyed a sunny and noisy march to the East Midlands Conference Centre where their chants (what do we want? Free education! How do we get it? Occupation!) were met with some bemused looks, some nods and even some applause from the Association of University Administrators (AUA), at least one member of which crossed the line of security guards outside the conference centre to join the demonstration.
While infamous sexist Willets cancelled his keynote address to the AUA, NSAFC went ahead with their camp for the radical alternative holding anti-oppression workshops and engaging discussions in an open space on the University of Nottingham campus visible to passers-by. Formal invitations were extended to AUA delegates to attend, which stated: “We believe that increased fees and draconian cuts to education are not the only options. To that end, we are creating an open space for discussion whereby we are collectively exploring alternatives.”
The cuts to and privatisation of education were discussed by a representative from the Campaign for the Public University and a PhD student explained the unequal effect of the cuts to public services on women. It was noted that unemployment among young women was rising and that women were more affected by cuts to Arts and Humanities. It was suggested that women would be disproportionately taking on more unpaid work to cover the effects of the cuts to childcare, care for people with disabilities and services for the elderly. The news that women’s refugee centres across Nottingham were facing closure was met with anger as it was agreed women will face more violence and serious danger as a direct result.
It was a space in which radical alternatives to neo-liberal cuts were envisaged as NSAFC and the assembled campers agreed upon the necessity of taking action against the cuts and building community solutions to them. Upcoming demonstrations, such as the May Day Rally and the next Notts Uncut action were promoted. Local young people from colleges and secondary schools across Nottingham, students from both of the city’s universities and members of Notts SOS and Notts Uncut came together to enjoy food provided by local vegan catering co-operative Veggies as NSAFC built ever stronger links with the local community and became ever more determined to fight on.
Indymedia report and more pics here.