Students Occupy Santander in SU

Anarchists protest against privatisation of student loan debt.

Occupy Santander


Anarchists occupied the branch of Santander inside the Students’ Union this afternoon in protest against the planned privatisation of student loans.

Five students staged the peaceful occupation in Santander with a pro-anarchy banner, allowing Santander staff to move in and out, for around an hour before leaving at their own will.

In June the government announced plans to sell off student loan debt to private companies, which has raised fears that students will have to pay more interest back on their loans.

The sit-in is part of a ‘national day of action’ organised by the Student Assembly Against Austerity, with protests planned on more than 20 campuses nationwide.

This comes just three weeks after protesters occupied the Richard Roberts building overnight in support of the UCU strike action on October 31.

The Tab spoke to some of the protesters. ‘Kitte’ said: “There are really big plans that the government are making to sell off our student loans to private companies.

“We’ve signed a contract on our loans to say we’re going to pay X amount of interest. When these loans are sold off to private companies our interest rates could, and probably will, change. We’re going to end up paying far more than we ever thought we were going to have to.

“We’re already paying 9 grand which is never something we expected. Services and resources in universities are being cut. We’re not getting our money’s worth any more – it’s bullshit.”

Call to arms – found in the IC last night

“Security have been quite hostile. They’ve been saying ‘We know who you are’. They pushed one of our friends who was standing in front of the camera [security staff were filming the demonstration]. He flew across the floor … very dramatic.

“The [Santander] staff have been fine. They’re free to leave whenever they want. We’re not here to hurt them. Santander treat their staff horribly. They’re really involved with ‘union-busting’. They don’t pay great and it’s really difficult to get in touch with people if you’re having issues in the workplace.”