Press release and statement from the occupation
Central London college occupied by students over education cuts.
Students at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London, have today taken over the Brunei Gallery, a central college building, in protest at the Coalition government’s plans to impose £4.3bn cuts to higher education.
SOAS is predicted to face 100% cuts to its teaching budget as it specialises in languages and humanities subjects.
Following a mass meeting of the Students’ Union last week, which voted to support occupations at the college, protestors gathered on campus at Monday lunchtime.
The Brunei Gallery was taken over shortly after by cheering students.
The demands are as follows:
“At a huge Emergency General Meeting (EGM) last week, SOAS students voted in favour of occupation as part of our fight against Coalition government plans to cut higher education funding and raise tuition fees. Today, over sixty students have occupied the Brunei Suite at SOAS. This number is growing.
We stand in solidarity with other University occupations across the country and all those resisting the government’s draconian and unnecessary cuts. We encourage all students to participate in the National Day of Action against fees and cuts on 24th November. We call on the University administration to join us in our fight to defend education. In particular, we demand:
No victimisation of participants in this occupation and in previous and future student actions against fees and cuts.
That students who participate in the walk-out organised on the 24th of November are not marked as absent from lectures or tutorials on that day
Greater transparency in the School’s budget and in the School’s financial decisions.
That Paul Webley, SOAS Director, releases a statement openly condemning all cuts to higher education and any rise in tuition fees, and writes to the Government in the form of an open letter asking Vice-Chancellors across the country to unite against all threats to Higher Education.
That Paul Webley and SOAS management refuse to budget for the cuts and commit not to raise tuition fees.
We also request that all lecturers devote 15 minutes of lecture time to discuss the impact of the cuts in their classes throughout this week.
The occupation space is open to all students and staff and we encourage everyone to participate in occupation activities.”