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.

New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Ashdown Group: 1st Line IT Support - Surrey - £24,000

£20000 - £24000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Graduate IT Support Helpd...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Audit Assistant

£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Audit Graduate Opportunities ar...

Guru Careers: Graduate Marketing Analyst / Online Marketing Exec (SEO / PPC)

£18 - 24k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Marketing Analyst / Online Marketing...

FDM Group: Business and Technical IT Consultants – London, Manchester, Glasgow

21,000-24,000: FDM Group: Kick-start your career and join FDM’s award-winning ...

Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all