University of Birmingham reoccupied - even though five students face possible expulsion for previous protest

 

Students at Birmingham University occupied a university building on Wednesday in a new anti-privatisation protest.

Between 30 and 40 people are believed to have occupied the Horton Grange Conference Centre at around 10pm.

A student inside the occupation told the Independent they plan to stay indefinitely.

“We’re not going to leave and stop until they actually start talking about our demands,” she said.

Among their demands, the protesters are calling for vice-chancellor David Eastwood to lobby the government for fees to be reduced and bursaries increased. They also want university accommodation made cheaper and staff to be paid a living wage.

The student said she disagreed with the university, which has said the occupiers do not represent the student body.

“There are a lot of students who agree with our methods, but they don’t feel that they can get involved with it,” she said. “Over the last term and this term I would say a few hundred people have been involved in this campaign. I think a few hundred people is not a minority at all.”

The Independent understands more students intend to join the occupation.

One student who was involved in the November occupation plans to travel to Birmingham today to join.

“Education is being turned into a commodity and the student is being turned into a consumer,” he said. “Rather than treating university as a transformative experience that has the potential to lead to change and growth in both students and society we are increasingly being sold a product.”

Meanwhile, one of six students who was facing expulsion for his role in November’s anti-privatisation protest had his investigation quashed today.

James Harding, 21, a third-year politics student, had the disciplinary against him dropped after photo evidence allegedly showing him inside the occupation proved inconclusive. Five other students are still under investigation.

A week-long occupation by students of Birmingham University’s senate chambers was broken up by police and security on November 28.

Mr Harding insists he played only a “minor role” in the protest and only provided support outside and did not enter the building.

“They were investigating me like I was some kind of criminal,” he said. “These investigations are meant to be just open investigations to find out what happened, but the person interviewing was really pushing even though the evidence was really weak.”

The University of Birmingham is calling the occupation “illegal”.

A spokesperson said: “The University welcomes debate on key policy issues and there are a variety of ways in which the legitimate concerns of students can be raised and responded to... it is therefore extremely disappointing that rather than engaging with the University through these channels, a small and  unrepresentative group of students has decided to occupy a building on campus, diverting resources from our 28,000 other students.”

She said the university will not comment on the case of individual students, five others of whom are still facing possible expulsion from the university for their parts in the earlier occupation.

News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Bruce, left, with Cream bandmates Ginger Rogers, centre, and Eric Clapton in 1967
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
News
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
arts + entsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Nursery Nurse

£7 - £8 per hour: Randstad Education Leeds: Nursery Nurse Leeds November start...

EBD LSA required - Vale of Glamorgan

£60 - £65 per day + plus free travel scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: The J...

EBD Teacher - Food Technology Specialist

£100 - £181 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: The JobTo plan and deliver all ...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker