Statement from UCL occupation:
After a lively demo on Thursday targeting the Universities UK meeting of Vice Chancellors, we decided to occupy the Old Refectory at UCL to provide a space to organise against the cuts and highlight our grievances with management as expressed in our demands.
Our actions inspired the creation of a large and welcoming anti-cuts space down the road at 11 Bedford Square. It has been opened up by a mixture of students, lecturers and university staff from across London and has already become a hub of organisation and planning.
At a mass meeting this afternoon, the UCL Occupation therefore took the decision to move from the Old Refectory and unite with the anti-cuts space to combine our energies. The student movement kick-started by the storming of Millbank last November is now, as a matter of urgency, linking up with community anti-cuts groups, trade unionists, school students, and vital campaigns to save public services such as the NHS. The cuts harm us all and therefore the fight to defeat them must involve us all.
This evening at 5.15pm we will be marching from the UCL quad to join a mass lobby of Camden Town Hall where borough councillors are meeting to agree a budget for the coming year. The Council’s Cabinet has approved proposals that would mean £82.5m in cuts over three years, cutting 1,000 full-time equivalent jobs and axing libraries, play schemes and day resource centres for vulnerable older people.
We remain committed to free education and over the next few weeks we will be campaigning vigorously on campus against the rise in tuition fees which the UCL Council are planning to implement on March 24th. Beyond that, we will be building to ensure that the upcoming “March for the Alternative” is a huge display of public defiance to the government’s policy of making society pay for a crisis it did not cause.
The situation is urgent. No matter what your involvement so far, we urge you to join us.