Free education activists are occupying Senate House

There’s about 50 of them


Gutsy protesters from universities in London and beyond have occupied a suite of rooms in Senate House.

Around 50 women and non-binary campaigners from UCL, SOAS, Warwick and Birmingham – including UCLU Democracy and Communications Officer Hannah Sketchley – are staging the sit-in to mark International Women’s Day as part of a three day protest against tuition fees.

They intend to use the occupied space in Senate House to discuss free education and feminism, “in a space where non-binary and female voices can be clearly heard”.

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In a lengthy statement published on the website of the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts on Friday, the protesters said they want to “remind everyone of the origins of International Women’s Day: a socialist celebration of working women and the fight for equal rights”.

They added: “Free education is a clearly feminist demand.

“When you argue for the redistribution of wealth from highly paid university executives to low paid cleaners, you benefit migrant women.

“When you argue for a liberated curriculum, you benefit overlooked women theorists and academics.”

The angry missive goes on to slam uni chiefs based at Senate House.

“We are not in the University of London by accident.

“Senate House is the administrative heart of the University, and yet it is a University that does not actually teach anyone directly, it is a service provider to its constituent colleges.”

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“This service and branding based model is the epitome of the neoliberal model of marketised education.

“What good is a University that only provides a brand, not education?”

The occupation, which started on Friday, is set to end tonight and will be followed by a demo outside Senate House tomorrow.

The protestors said: “We offer this to the University of London: if you allow us free access in and out, without fear of victimisation, we will give you back your space on Sunday evening.

“If you wish to persecute and violently evict us for nothing more than trying to learn in a university, expect repercussions. The choice is yours.”