Student protests paralyse Sussex University

first_imgJohn Duffy, Registrar and Secretary of the University of Sussex, said: “The violence at Sussex House and the attempt to disrupt the normal running of our campus is shocking and appalling. We condemn the damage caused on campus today.” He added that “The organisers have been irresponsible by inviting people from outside the University who have no connection to or interest in Sussex. We cannot tolerate today’s violent behaviour, for which there is no excuse.”In response to the continued occupation of Bramber House, and in light of Monday’s demonstration, the University requested and was granted a High Court injunction which bans “all protest action without University consent” in order to bring an end to continued disturbances on campus, whilst many campus services, including Sussex House and the Co-op supermarket will remain closed for the next few days.However, the University was keen to stress that the injunction has no intention of “banning peaceful demonstrations”. Nonetheless, a protest was called for on Wednesday morning outside the High Court of Justice in order to oppose the injunction. [mm-hide-text]%%IMG%%7160%%[/mm-hide-text]The University of Sussex Students’ Union maintained that “While the Students’ Union is not organising the event, we continue to support the student-led campaign against outsourcing and support any of our members attending Monday’s demo.”A spokesman for the ‘Sussex Against Privatisation’ movement, said: “Today marks an important and momentous day in the history of resistance at Sussex University and in the United Kingdom. Students from across the country stood alongside academics, university staff and others in a mass display of solidarity, to express their anger at the management of Sussex University”Despite the perceived success of the demonstration, students remain unsure as to whether the university will make any substantial changes to its outsourcing plans. Greg Rutnam, a second year student at Sussex commented that “It seems like the occupation has become stronger since the protest yesterday so I can’t see the university being this uncooperative for much longer, but at the same time I can imagine them trying to hold out until summer when many people are likely to lose interest.”Katie O’Shea, editor-in-chief at The Badger, Sussex University’s student newspaper, told Cherwell that “This is a management team who have consistently ignored the concerns of its staff, the trade unions and the student body, and who have attempted to censor people by not allowing them to express their support with badges or email signatures, and who are now trying to stop protest action. They’re not changing their minds.” Nearly 1,000 students from over 20 universities across the country are reported to have assembled on Monday at the University of Sussex, as part of a “national demonstration” against the University’s controversial plans to outsource 235 jobs.Monday’s demonstration is part of a wider appeal to university authorities to abandon what has been labelled a “privatisation” of the university’s services. The movement, nicknamed ‘Occupy Sussex’, has included a number of protests over the past year, most notably the ongoing seven-week occupation of Bramber House, a conference centre on the university’s campus in Falmer, near Brighton.A student representative of the school of English told Cherwell that “The demonstration, organised in such a short period of time, really showed the discontent with Workers, Students and faculty across the country in regards to these widespread, sweeping privatisation measures.”The University of Sussex took a number of precautionary measures prior to the demonstration, including posting security staff at key points on campus and enlisting the support of local police. The protest began peacefully, with marches across the campus and speeches made from the steps of the University Library. However, the demonstration took a hostile turn as it moved on to Sussex House, one of the main buildings on campus. There, it is reported that glass doors were smashed and university files were burnt as tensions between students and security flared.  In a statement released on Tuesday, the university stressed that not all demonstrators had engaged in unlawful activity, but condemned the violence that resulted from the originally peaceful demonstration. last_img read more