Sussex students protest against police presence on campus

Students gathered to protest renters’ rights, sexual assault and police on campus

Hundreds of students at the University of Sussex gathered on Sunday, April 18, in protest against conditions on campus.

The demonstration was led by Reclaim Sussex in collaboration with Sussex Renters Union, who united to address three key demands: police off campus, rent cuts and stronger action on sexual assault cases.

Student-led group Reclaim Sussex and its supporters assembled in Library Square to campaign for major reform at the university, in response to the recent increased police presence and risk of sexual harassment on campus.

They were joined in solidarity by Sussex Renters Union, who have been at the forefront of the ongoing rent strike.

Images and videos taken at the demonstration show participants to be wearing face coverings and distributing hand sanitizer.

via @reclaim_sussex, Instagram

Reclaim Sussex’s demands were centred around reducing the police presence on campus, following reports of students feeling threatened and footage circulating of officers using force against Sussex students.

The campaign group argue that the high police presence contributes to an unsafe campus environment which puts its students at risk of police brutality, sexual harassment and racism.

Footage shows protestors gathered around Northfield flats, chanting “Say it loud, say it clear, Sussex Police aren’t welcome here”.

Students also came out to demand more definitive action from the University regarding sexual assault, in light of findings that two thirds of students at Sussex have experienced unwanted sexual advances, in addition to reports that sexual assault cases can take up to a year to be resolved.

via @reclaim_sussex, Instagram

Protesters also marched in support the ongoing rent strike, for which almost 700 students are withholding rent payments following discontent with living conditions, accommodation fees and access to campus during the pandemic.

Images show protestors fixing rent strike flyers, many with personalised messages written on them, to the doors of Sussex House, where the offices of Vice Chancellor Adam Tickell and other senior leadership staff members reside.

A spokesperson for The University of Sussex said: “Some students took part in a demonstration on our campus at the weekend and we support their right to protest peacefully, when observing the law and Covid safety guidelines.”

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