Video: Pressure grows on Sussex University management as students storm building in demonstration against privatisation

view gallery VIEW GALLERY


Students at Sussex University have stepped up their efforts to block the proposed privatisation of several key services, by storming the conference room and third floor balcony of Bramber House. The surge followed a protest attended by over 300 students and staff, as well as comedian and Independent columnist Mark Steel.

Students have occupied parts of the building since Thursday 3 February, as a ‘last resort’ to resist privatisation after declaring that communicating with management down the conventional channels had become ‘impossible’.

The occupiers had numbered around 40 until yesterday’s demonstration when, after one of the largest protests in the university’s history, cries of ‘join them’ led to what the press contact for the Occupy group is describing as a surge of ‘hundreds’ into the building.

Kit Bradshaw, communications officer for the Sussex Student’s Union confirmed on twitter that: “security have let hundreds of students into Bramber House conference centre to join the occupation”.

On the morning of the most recent protest Sussex Vice Chancellor, Prof Michael Farthing, in a letter to the students occupying the terrace said that he had “been asked by a number of staff and student to find a way to resolve this situation” before offering a meeting on the condition that “before the meeting takes place, we would want all the people involved in the protest to leave the terrace room”.

The students occupying responded saying that “If dissolving this occupation is the only condition upon which we can meet, then will not have a meeting” and instead, invited the Vice Chancellor and university registrar John Duffy, who is responsible for overseeing the outsourcing on campus, to a meeting in the occupied conference room.

It came a day after the release of a statement of support for the campaign, signed by over 150 leading academics, journalists and celebrities, including Caroline Lucas MP, activist Noam Chomsky, and BAFTA and Academy award winning actor and director Peter Capaldi.

Speaking at the demonstration, Mark Steel told the students it was an “honour and a privilege” to speak to them, and praised them for “standing up for what is right”, he also appeared to make reference to the recent horsemeat scandal when he told the students: “private business, food, what could possibly go wrong?”.

During a recent Q and A session between university registrar John Duffy, and students, Duffy insisted that the “treatment of staff and quality of service [are] top priorities” and that it was “really important that employers on this campus treat their staff well (…) a good employer will pay [and] treat staff equally”.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Ashdown Group: Graduate Application Support Analyst

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree have recently been awa...

SThree: Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £21000 per annum + uncapped commission: SThree: As a graduate you are...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate / Junior Software Developer

£24000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Graduate/Junior Software Deve...

Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot