UPDATE: Protestors Lawn-ch Senate House Camp
Protesters have grown tired of their grassroots campaign and called off their lawn occupation after just two nights.
Saturday March 12th: Occupation of the Senate House Lawn has now ended, after two nights of protest following on from Thursday’s demonstration against bursary cuts. The lawn protest was one of many recent shows of student dissatisfaction at the University, with particular anger lobbied at Vice Chancellor Leszec Borysiewicz after he vetoed amendments to a Grace submitted by CUSU earlier in the week. Leaving Senate House lawns is unlikely to be the end of student demos over cuts and bursaries, with the uni yet to answer many important questions over its actions.
A group of protestors set up camp on the lawn of Senate House last night, following yesterday’s march against proposed cuts to bursaries.
Between 40 and 50 students camped out on the Senate House lawn, echoing last term’s occupation of Senate House itself.
Students in the camp are hoping to convince academics to vote against the University’s plans to raise fees to £9,000 and cut bursaries in half. Academics will vote on the issue on 16th March.
Daniel Johnson, one of the students involved in the protest camp, said: “Not only did the University Council make an outrageous proposal, raising fees to £9,000 and leaving bursaries at their current level, but they’re ignoring their own democratic procedures in not giving academics any voice.
“We’ve set up this protest camp to encourage academics to reject this proposal and stand up for a free education.”
The camp comes after over 700 people marched on Senate House yesterday, protesting Cambridge’s refusal to promise not to cut bursaries.
A crowd gathered outside Great St Mary’s Church at 12pm, before marching around the town centre and then storming the gardens of Senate House.
Once there, many protestors began to bang on the doors of the building, whilst chanting: “We want our bursaries, no cuts, no fees.”
Trisha Evans, a 2nd year student at Murray Edwards, explained the importance of the protests, saying simply: “If I didn’t get a college bursary I wouldn’t be able to come to Cambridge.”
Katherine Nolan, also a 2nd year at Murray Edwards, added: “My youngest sister probably can’t come now because I don’t know how she would manage.”
Yesterday’s protest, photographed by Will Seymour
Yesterday’s protest was organised in just 24 hours by CUSU, after it emerged that the Vice Chancellor had vetoed CUSU’s graces calling for bursaries to be maintained.
CUSU President-elect Gerard Tully told The Tab: “To get this turn out in this space of time really shows the depth of our anger.”
100s of petitions were also passed around, calling for the rejection of the Vice Chancellor’s decision.
It’s as yet unclear how long the occupation of the Senate House lawn will last, or the occupiers legal status there, but protests could rumble on until the vote on March 16th.