Students fined £800 for occupying uni building during strikes

A crowdfund has already raised the money to pay the fine

Three students have been fined £800 by the University of Stirling after locking themselves in a building during a protest last November.

According to a letter seen by The Tab, the University considered expelling the students after they set up blockages at the main entrance and the fire exits and refused to remove them when asked by members of staff, but decided not to on account of the group’s display of remorse.

In addition to the fine, the students have been suspended until until the end of May. One of the three, Lauren, was ordered to pay £200 individually.

She told The Tab: “Initially when we all got suspended it really took a toll on my mental health, but the solidarity we have been shown has really given me a sense of hope.”

A crowdfund set up to help the group pay the £800 fine has already reached its goal, but Lauren told The Tab she is “already” looking to appeal the decision.

A spokesperson for the group wrote on Twitter: “We are astonished and incredibly grateful for the generosity and solidarity which has been put into action by people today.

“Managing to raise the total of £800 in under 24 hours in support of students being punitively punished for peaceful demonstration highlights the injustice of the university’s actions, and the strength of feeling people have in supporting us.

“We look forward to continuing to pressure the University to improve as well as reflect on is mistakes throughout this process, and thanks to your help we will be able to do this without a financial burden pressing over our heads. Thank you for supporting us.”

The group, who call themselves the Suspended Students of Stirling, originally occupied the building in November in support of the UCU strikes “but also over grievances over mental health provision and housing conditions on campus.”

While suspended, the students “will not be permitted to study at the University,” and “will not be able to submit assignments or participate in examinations,” according to an email seen by The Tab.

In February the group threatened to pursue legal action against the University, and accused Stirling of imposing “draconian” sanctions upon them.

“I’m now feeling much better about our situation,” Lauren told The Tab. “With continued pressure on the University I believe we have a fighting chance.”

A spokesperson for the University of Stirling told The Tab: “The University cannot comment on the specifics of individual cases.”

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