Five students have been suspended at Sussex University for taking part in an occupation. One of the five spoke to Socialist Students NUS executive member Edmund Schluessel on 4 December.
“Yesterday [3 December] the Bramber House occupation of the Conference Centre left to join the picket lines on Sussex campus, in solidarity with the strike in defence of fair pay in higher education.
We had been occupying the Conference Centre since Tuesday 26 November, despite the best attempts by university management to starve us out by refusing to allow food or any supplies up to the third floor where we were staying.
We occupied in solidarity with the Tuesday strike, and in protest against the privatisation of university services on our campus, which had seen catering and conferencing services privatised in September, and residential services due to be privatised in January. We occupied a privatised space to pressure the university to bring the services back, and for them to cancel their proposed privatisation of lowest paid staff at the university.
Today all five of us received an email from the university at 17.30, notifying us that we have been suspended indefinitely from our studies, and that we are banned from our university campus. As such, we’re not allowed to use any campus facilities, including the Health Centre which we are registered at.
We fully condemn this draconian move to suspend students for exercising their right to protest in support of striking staff, in demand of a more democratic university where students and staff have a say in how decisions are made.
We have been singled out as ‘key organisers’ and ‘instigators’ of the movement which has been ongoing since May 2012, in demand of more democracy on campus.”