FCK UOM protest marches through Manchester

Students were protesting the University’s handling of the pandemic

Monday night saw, protesters, gather outside of the Samuel Alexander Building in the University of Manchester’s main campus before marching to St Peter’s Square.

The protest was aimed against the university’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

A variety of groups and causes were present, including Nancy Out, Cops off Campus, UoM Rent Strike and Resist Rape Culture.

Protesters said they feel that “the university doesn’t listen to its students” and the Senior Leadership team “only cares about profit”.

Speakers raised issues with the return of students to campus at the start of the academic year, saying there was “insufficient support” in place and that the uni had a “callous” attitude toward students.

Resist Rape Culture also criticised “rape culture” in the uni, which they say goes “unchecked” with “barely any consent training”.

Speakers also cited concerns about the uni’s handling of the pandemic from the start of the year, citing the erection of fences around Fallowfield campus, with “insufficient support” during the return to campus and isolation.

The protest started in front of Sam Alex in solidarity with and led by the protesters inside. That group has now left Sam Alex due to a “refusal to negotiate” by the university.

In response to the protest last night and the claims by the protesters, the university says:

It is engaging with and supporting students in a number of areas.

It cites that Students’ Union representatives sit on 91 different university committees

It lists the mental health services available to students, including a 24-hour mental health helpline and wellbeing app and the Counselling service. “Our planned spending on University-wide mental health and wellbeing for this year was £3.8million” and it has spent an extra £551k on top of this. The investment includes “£138k towards the Greater Manchester Universities Student Mental Health Service”.

In regards to accusations of racial discrimination, it has constructed an “action plan” with “students and staff”.

Now that students have left Sam Alex, it will “begin the process of cleaning the building and ensuring it is Covid secure again for the use of staff and students.”

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