Sussex students library occupation

80 students at the University of Sussex have occupied their library in protest against the commodification of education and its provision at their university.

Submitted by Ed on November 29, 2006

Since 9:30pm this evening, 80 students from the University of Sussex have occupied their library in support of the SortUSOut campaign, a campus wide campaign for better provision of welfare and education at the University of Sussex. Our focus is on local problems directly damaging the education of students at Sussex but also the wider issues around the commodification of higher education.

The demands of the occupation are:

1) The extending of library opening hours until 2am
2) The democratisation of the governance of Sussex University
3) More contact time for students
4) More affordable housing on campus
5) Reinstatement of the Equal Opportunities Unit
6) Decent pay and conditions for all academic and non-academic staff
7) Against the commodification of education and the introduction of tuition fees

University of Sussex senior management have made many assurances over the years, including one tonight about "processes in the process". These assurances have failed to translate into concrete improvements.

Management have also claimed that the University of Sussex is 'about average' in terms of contact hours in comparison to other universities. This is no consolation but rather points to the sorry state of higher education in general. The attempted closure of Chemistry at Sussex, mirrored by current attempts at closing Physics at Reading, are further evidence of these trends. This is no coincidence or one-off event; even the VC here openly acknowledged at an open meeting with students that there will be more department closures in the next five years.

We here at Sussex have begun to use direct action as a result of years of dishonesty and systematic disregard for the interests of students on the part of senior management. These issues affect all students and staff at universities across Britain and Europe, and its only when we see our problems as part of the wider context of running education for profit, that we can start to solve them.

Discussion on the occupation in the libcom forums, here.