Breaking: Students are currently occupying a meeting room on campus in support of the strikes
The students are occupying the room where a meeting of uni executives was supposed to take place this morning
Unless you have been living under a rock for the last couple of weeks, you will know that there have been widespread strikes going on across the country, and Exeter has not gone unaffected. We are now entering week three of the planed strike action from the UCU and in just the first four days of the strikes, approximately a third of lectures and seminars were affected.
In the latest development of the strike action in Exeter, a group of students has occupied the John Usher meeting room in Northcote House. The students armed with a banner that read: "SUPPORT OUR STRIKERS STEVE", are believed to have occupied the room early on this morning before the meeting was set to take place.
The students are calling for the "Vice-Chancellor and the VC's executive group to support the UCU as other universities have". This comes after Steve Smith, our Vice-Chancellor, openly supported the UUK's proposed changes to the lecturer's pensions in a campus-wide email. The UUK's new pension schemes could leave university staff up to £10,000 a year worse off when they retire with a loss of more than £200,000 over the course of their retirement. This did not go down well with the staff at the university, as some pointed out that it came from a a man who has often made headlines due to his outrageous spending habits. He famously made the national news when it was reported that he spent £6,000 on biscuits over a two year period.
The students are demanding an official statement from the University about their updated position on the UCU strike action and have said that they will not move on until this has been released- the last statement that was issued by Steve Smith was on 21 February, before the strike action had taken place. It must also be noted that the students entered the building through an open door and did not force entry in any way.
We will keep this story updated with any developments that occur.