UoB students locked out of campus while peacefully protesting for tuition fee refunds
Protesters marched around the university to gain access
Students gathered on Wednesday for a socially-distanced protest outside UoB campus for the refunding of tuition fees, as a result of the pandemic’s impact on students’ learning and university experience.
Protesters were seen by The Birmingham Tab to be locked out of the university’s south entrance when they tried to take their protest through the campus grounds. The Birmingham Tab saw students being taken through Selly Oak to gain access to a different and unguarded entrance of campus to continue their protest.
The Socialist Students group have taken inspiration from the success of the A-level protests.
“A-level students won change on their grades because they came out on the streets, and we can do the same,” they told The Birmingham Tab.
— David Atkins (@davidatkins2010) October 21, 2020
Protesters feel they were encouraged back to university with the false promises of face-to-face freshers events, a blend of online and in-person teaching and access to the university’s facilities, such as the library and labs.
On the same day as the protests UoB released their weekly coronavirus update with another 224 UoB students testing positive within seven days. This pushes UoB to nearly 1,000 coronavirus cases since students returned a month ago.
Hannah*, one of the students in the protest, was shocked at the lack of transparency about what was going to be offered. “I think for me, at the foreground is the refund, and not being told what we’re getting”, she told The Birmingham Tab.
Julie*, another student at the protest, doesn’t think it should shock people when students ask for their tuition fees to be refunded.
“People need to realise that its not unreasonable when we say refund our tuition fees,” she told The Birmingham Tab.
Though protests at the moment are calling for the refunding of tuition fees for the years affected by the ongoing pandemic, the group also have a larger aim of making university free altogether and this is the ‘eventual goal.’
Another student taking part in the protest, Sam*, was frustrated with the lack of teaching.
“We’re getting about three hours a week on campus, for nine grand,” he told The Birmingham Tab.
The group also wish to protest for:
• Refunding tuition fees
• Rent rebate and rent control
• Stopping the cuts to courses, jobs and pay
• Students and staff having oversight of campus safety such as testing, as opposed to big businesses and University bosses
The Socialist Students group has regular meetings to discuss, plan and organise events. On Sunday 25th October, the group is holding a national rally over Zoom. You can contact [email protected] to find out more.
Guidance and advice for students at the university concerned with the current outbreak can be found here.
*Some names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.