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UCU Strikes: Students Rally outside Senate House

Students are not happy with the Vice-Chancellor, Stephen Toope…

pension stephen toope strikes vice-chancellor

At 12:30 today, students and staff from the University of Cambridge united to show their support for the UCU strikes and to call out the Vice-Chancellor, Stephen Toope. Cambridge Defend Education have told The Tab that there is discontent, accusing 'the university of failing in its mission statement to 'contribute to society through the pursuit of education, learning, and research' by behaving more like a corporation than a university.'

The rally began outside of Senate House. Protesters marched, chanting slogans and letting off smoke flares. around Market Square ending at Old Schools, where the Vice-Chancellors Office is located. Students from Cambridge Defend Education gave speeches linking the USS pension scheme cuts to the last decade of Higher education reforms.

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Students and staff united for a colourful and passionate rally

A banner was left outside of the entrance of Old Schools saying 'Dear Toope, 12:30, Thurs. Here. See you then.' This reflected the protesters demands that Toope will attend a public meeting outside Senate House on Thursday 8th March to answer questions. Cambridge Defend Education explained the purpose of this meeting as a way to hold Toope 'accountable for the damage done to staff pensions and students' education.'

A spokesperson for Cambridge Defend Education told The Tab: 'Our university has become Corporation Cambridge. It has an unaccountable financial bureaucracy that stands in the way of the interests of staff and students alike.'

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Time for some midday accountability and chill

They drew attention to wider discontent saying the university 'ignores the overwhelming support of academics and students for divestment from fossil fuels, and targets Muslim students with the authoritarian PREVENT strategy. It spends millions in corporate funding for new building developments whilst Cambridge has a housing crisis.'

The spokesperson also alluded to the controversy surrounding Vice-Chancellor wages saying: 'Staff work long hours in precarious jobs but the bureaucracy bypasses due processes to make sweeping wage and pension cuts while senior management wages keep climbing. We're holding Stephen Toope to account for this, and we'll see him on Thursday!'