Sussex student protest gathers momentum as Peter Capaldi, Caroline Lucas and Tariq Ali offer support


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The Independent Online

Students occupying a Sussex University building in protest against planned privatisation of key university services, received a boost to their campaign today after 100 leading academics, politicians and celebrities from across the globe, pledged their support for the movement.

Caroline Lucas MP, activist Tariq Ali, and BAFTA and Academy award winning actor and director Peter Capaldi, best known for his role in the BBC’s ‘The Thick of It’, are among those offering their backing to the occupation which is now into its fourth day.

Amid reports of rising tensions between students and security, the protesters have shown no sign of withdrawing from the Bramber House conference room and third floor balcony, which they have held since Thursday 7 February.

On Friday the university issued a statement saying that it is 'keeping the situation under review' and that 'the issues which [students] are protesting about are already the subject of discussion through the proper processes'. Several staff members from the University of Sussex feature amongst the signatories on the statement of support for the occupiers.

The Occupy Sussex group have organised several ‘teach-ins’ with speakers including LSE's Richard Seymour.

Students on the ground voiced their concern that the University’s privatisation drive is “reflective of the general trend in education under the coalition government”, and comes at a time when Education Secretary Michael Gove has faced criticism after a leaked memo showed he was considering the privatisation of academies and free schools.

The Occupy group have issued a set of demands which call for a “complete halting of the ongoing bidding process and end to the entire privatization program”, and “end to the intimidation that senior and middle management have used to deter students and workers for airing and acting on their concerns” and “a commission of students, staff and lecturers to be formed” to “re-evaluate procedures and channels for holding management accountable”.

Signatories to the message of support

1.    Kelly McBride - President, University of Sussex Students Union

2.    Owen Jones - Independent Columnist and Campaigner

3.    Satish Kumar  -  Editor of Resurgence Magazine, Founder of Schumacher College

4.    Vandana Shiva - Academic and Author

5.    Peter Capaldi - BAFTA and Academy Award Winner

6.    Vicki Baars - Vice President, NUS

7.    Professor Alan Simpson - City University

8.    Charlie Masquelier - Fellow in Sociology, University of Exeter

9.    Lawrence Upton - Fellow in Music, Goldsmiths

10.  Dr Jennifer Cooke - Lecturer in English, Loughborough University

11.  Dr Richard Parker - University of Gaziantep

12.  Davy Jones - Green Party Candidate, Brighton and Kemp Town Constituency

13.  Dr Stephen Brown - Senior Lecturer in Sociology, University of Brighton

14.  Paul Philo - Brighton and Hove Green Party

15.  Professor Bob Brecher - University of Brighton

16.  Rebecca Anderson - President, Gateshead College Students Union

17.  Dr Peter. D. Thomas - Brunel University

18.  Leander Jones - Vice President, University of Birmingham Guild of Students

19.  Professor Dave Hill - Anglia Ruskin University

20.  Caroline Lucas - MP for Brighton Pavilion

21.  Jon Rogers - National Executive Committee, Unison

22.  Nathan Bolton - President, University of Essex Student’s Union

23.  Dr Alberto Toscano - Goldsmiths University

24.  Louis Goddard - Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge

25.  Steven Ellis - Birkbeck Unison

26.  Phélim Mac Cafferty - Deputy Leader, Brighton and Hove City Council

27.  Soren Goard - Vice President, Goldsmiths Students Union

28.  Ross Speer - Vice President, LSE Students Union

29.  Jamie Lewis - Vice President, University of Manchester Students Union

30.  Dr Mark Erickson - University of Brighton

31.  Dr Chris Cocking - University of Brighton

32.  Dr Robbie Shilliam - Queen Mary, University of London

33.  Dr Alison Phipps- Director of Gender Studies at Sussex University

34.  Professor Gurminder K Bhambra - University of Warwick, Co-Founder of Campaign of the Public University

35.  Cllr Ben Duncan - Brighton and Hove City Council

36.  Professor William Outhwaite - Newcastle University

37.  Professor Andrea Cornwall - University of Sussex

38.  Taher Abdalla - President of Students Union, American University in Cairo

39.  Jessica Pujol Duran - UCL

40.  Tariq Ali - Editor New Left Review

41.  Laurence Clennett-Sirois - Lecturer at Universite du Quebec en Outaouais

42.  Dr. Daniel Kane - University of Sussex

43.  Godfrey Atuahene Jnr - Preseident, University of Portsmouth Students Union

44.  Professor Paul Leduc Browne - Université du Québec en Outaouais

45.  Aaron Kiely - NUS Black Students' Officer

46.  Mark Steel - Comedian and Author of….

47.  Marjorie Welish - Brooklyn College, New York

48.  Maureen Szulczewski - Instructor at Dubai Women’s College, UAE

49.  John McDonnell - MP for Hayes and Harlington

50.  James McAsh - President, University of Edinburgh Students Union

51.  Professor Ted Benton - University of Essex

52.  Professor John Holmwood - University of Nottingham, former Dean of Social Sciences and Cultural Studies, University of Sussex. Co-Founder of Campaign of the Public University, President of the British Sociological Association

53.  Professor Geoffrey G. O'Brien -, UC-Berkeley

54.  Kati Whitaker- Journalist at BBC Radio 4

55.  Andy Richards - Chair, Brighton and Hove Unison

56.  Louis-Georges Schwartz - Assistant Professor, University of Ohio

57.  DAVID GORIN - Yale University

58.  Cai Wilkinson - Lecturer in International Relations, Deakin University, Australia

59.  Sir Jonathan Miller - Public intellectual and former Fellow of Neuropsychology at University of Sussex

60.  Matt Stanley - President, Mid Kent College students Union

61.  Dr Joyce Canaan - Professor of Sociology, Birmingham City University

62.  Steffan Wyn-Jones - UCU Sussex University

63.  Dr. Rebecca Searle - University of Sussex

64.  Ioana Cerasella Chis - Senator, University of Birmingham

65.  David Rudling - Senior Lecturer, University of Sussex

66.  Jason Weidner - Faculty Member at Virginia Tech University

67.  Nathalie Batraville - Yale University

68.  Xavier Cohen - current Sussex Applicant

69.  Richard Seymour - Author and Lecturer at LSE

70.  Dr. Anna Stavrianakis - University of Sussex

71.  Peter Hain - MP for Neath

72.  Luke Beale - Sussex University Staff

73.  Claire Lyall - Unison Glasgow

74.  Dr Joel Lazarus - University of Oxford

75.  Professor Ben Rogaly - University of Sussex

76.  Charity Schmidt -Co-President, University of Wisconsin-Madison Teaching Assistants' Association

77.  Orlando Reade - Princeton University

78.  Dr. Eunice Goes - Associate Professor, Richmond University

79.  Michael Edwards - Faculty Member, University College London

80.  Dr Michael Lawrence - Lecturer, University of Sussex

81.  Bernard Sufrin - Emeritus Fellow, Worcester College, Oxford

82.  Dr Sarah Amsler - University of Lincoln

83.  Professor Anthony O’Brien - Queens College, City University of New York

84.  Sean Pryor - Lecturer, University of New South Wales

85.  Professor Julian Murphet - Director, Centre for Modernism Studies in Australia, University of New South Wales

86.  Laura Salisbury - Lecturer, Birkbeck, University of London

87.  Dr Patricia McManus - University of Brighton

88.  Dr Ian Patterson - Director of Studies in English, Queen’s College, Cambridge

89.  Dr David Archibald - University of Glasgow.

90.  Lucas Klein - Assistant Professor, City University of Hong Kong

91.  Dr. Doug Haynes - University of Sussex

92.  Dr. Alexandra M. Kokoli - Robert Gordon University

93.  Dr. Louiza Odysseos - University of Sussex

94.  Dr Annie Ring - Fellow, University of Cambridge

95.  Kerem Nisancioglu - Associate Tutor, University of Susssex

96.  Charlie Kimber - SWP national secretary

97.  Dr Kamran Matin - University of Sussex

98.  Josiah Mortimer - Univeristy of York Green Party

99.  Alexandra Wanjiku Kelbert - University of Sussex

100. Elizabeth Pettersen - Undergraduate, University of Sussex