Defend Education in Solidarity with Residents Campaign to save Tiverton Road Pool.

This is a callout by the defend education campaign for students to get involved in helping the residents of Selly Oak save vital local services historic baths.
Residents will be meeting to set up a ‘Friends of Tiverton Pool and Gym’ on Wednesday 15th January, at the Elim Church Centre at 7.30pm.

At a meeting on December 6th 40 Selly Oak Residents and Workers from the Tiverton Road pool met and agreed to set up a Friends of Tiverton Pool and Gym pressure group to save the pool which faces closure in 2014/15.

The Tiverton Rool Pool & Gym is a vital service for students. Despite paying £9k in tution fees if we want to use the university pool and gym we must pay them £233 a year in membership or £4.50 a go. The student price Tiverton Rool Pool & Gym is well under half this and many poorer students opt to use it instead of the unaffordable university facilities.

Local baths can be saved. Friends of Moseley Road Baths which has been in existence for many years has successfully pressured the council into keeping their baths open by running high profile campaigns. It would only take £100,000 to save the Tiverton pool & gym – pocket change by the councils standards, only a small amount of the £60m it wastes a year on its dodgy private sector contract with capita.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments

Some Payday Loan Providers Taking Advantage of the poor youth in Birmingham

Payday loan providers in Birmingham, knowing that students often have little to no credit history, are taking advantage by offering to provide short term cash loans at exuberant rates

Luckily LearnBonds, a comparison site, allowing young people the ability to find the cheapest providers is hoping to drive out some new lenders that have high rates

Payday loans are an expensive form of borrowing, in the long term, but the fact of the matter is the vast majority of these young people with little to no credit to their names have no choice but to turn to them when they encouncer financial emergencies in life. LearnBonds hopes to even the playing field. The shortest possible borrowing periods at the smallest interest rates.

We're thrilled to announce our new partners Learnbonds, who will help us secure a transparent future for our young people.

Join Learnbonds to ensure the youth are at the forefront of young peoples self reliance and lack of convalescence

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments

Statement on today’s protest and the re-occupation of the Senate Chambers

The student strike today was a hugely successful demonstration which led to the re-occupation of the Senate Chambers by over 100 students, many of whom had not been in there previously. In solidarity with the UCU strike, we fully support their aims of fairer pay. Since 2008, lecturers have suffered a 13% drop in wages in real terms, however, senior management continue to have benefits added, with the average salary of a vice-chancellor approximately £250,000. At the University of Birmingham, this figure is closer to £420,000 showing an even further disparity considering the cuts to departments and the further casualisation of post-graduate staff through the use of Worklink.
We also continue to stand in solidarity with other occupy and student protest groups around the UK, which have dramatically increased in number over the last few days, following our 8 day occupation against the privatisation and commercialisation of the higher education system. As of 3/12/13, there have been nine university groups occupying their institutions in similar protests in the last week, and this number seems likely to grow as more university anti-cuts societies show their support over Twitter and Facebook.
Once again, the senior management at the University of Birmingham were threatened in the light of massive student solidarity with our and the UCU’s aims, and delivered a letter to the occupation which bought the injunction back into force. Again, they named two students specifically in the letter, which was delivered personally by Brendan Casey around 5pm. We decided to leave the occupation at 5:15 so we could be in a conducive environment for planning future non-violent, direct action against the university management. A letter naming specific students and bringing back an injunction which has been heavily criticised serves to demonstrate the pressure collective action can place on the university. Once more, the university has had to resort to intimidation in order to suppress disagreement on its campus, and effectively removed the occupying students’ right to peacefully protest - a clear breach of human rights.
Nonetheless, the demonstration was hugely successful in sending a message to University of Birmingham students, their lecturer’s and other student occupations - we continue to stand in solidarity against the ongoing commercialisation of our university and higher education system.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments

University threatens to arrest two students for occupying.

DSC_0631

The university sent the above letter threatening that they would arrest two students if they didn’t stop our occupation. The offense they wanted to arrest people for was contempt of court, which results in a criminal record as well as possible fines or even prison. The offense only applies if the university choose to use it. So by sending this letter it shows that the university would rather have its own students arrested and tried, then talk to them and negotiate with their demands.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments

WE ARE BACK IN THE SENATE CHAMBERS WITH SO MANY NEW PEOPLE

DSC_0627

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments

Student Strike Reoccupies Senate Chambers!

The Senate Chamber has been re-occupied!! This means that Defend Education and all the demonstrators from the strike are joining the many other students around the country currently in occupation in their campaign against the privatisation of student loans and the commercialisation of higher education.  In addition, we are standing in solidarity with the UCU and their aims of fair pay, in opposition to the cut in real wages they have had.

The day started with a range of talks ranging from discussion of the privatisation of loans and what that meant for students. Then onto demonstrations and successes in other countries like Germany, where student protesters have successfully abolished all tuition fees.  Talks were also given in support of the UCU and their aims.  Then a march proceeded around campus with the demonstration split into two groups with the aim of occupying different parts of the university which directly deal with finance and private services.  However, security cut off all entrances.

Both groups of demonstrators then met back up and marched around the Aston Webb building, where the Senate Chamber was found to be unlocked.  Currently there are about 100 people in the Senate Chamber, making it a far larger occupation than last week!!  A new term has also been coined - SHOCKUPATION!!!

Universities where occupations have been held in solidarity with the staff strke:

Birmingham

Sheffield

Warwick

Liverpool

Goldsmiths

Exeter

Sussex

Ulster

Edinburgh

Defend Education and all the student strikers stand in solidarity with the other occupiers, and their aims to stop the commercialisation of higher education.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments

In Solidarity with UCU

Tensions are high within the University, as the second day of strike action draws nearer and many continue to work to rule. At such times we may hear the oft-quoted: “For the sake of students, don’t go on strike!”

Defend Education, and the recent occupiers, offer their full support to staff who decide to go on strike next Tuesday.

We see the aims of UCU, of Defend Education, and of staff and students more broadly, as closely aligned: it is critical that students and staff struggle collectively. It is (non-management) staff who provide us with our education, and it is important that they can focus on their job – without worrying about the rocketing costs of living. It is worth remembering that it is young and new academics who are hardest hit by departmental restructuring and real-term cuts to pay, including the vast numbers of postgraduate students at the University of Birmingham who take on teaching roles.

Education continues to be progressively marketised, fees continue to rise, power continues to shift away from ordinary staff and into the hands of the overpaid senior management; typified by our Vice-Chancellor who enjoys an extortionate yearly salary of £419,000. At times like these it is vital that the university acts as a community and reasserts its stake over the corporate body. We do this by working together, and recognising that our struggles are in common.

Defend Education has been overjoyed to see the strong and fruitful relationships developing between students and on-campus trade unions. Students have come out in support of staff at the University of Birmingham time and time again over recent years, and we are committed to carrying on doing so.  UCU have offered their support to student-led campaigns, including the recent occupation: even going so far as to provide a member of UCU to bolster our negotiations committee. It is these relationships that are crucial to the long-term struggle for a higher education system that values education as a public good, rather than vehicle for producing profit.

We implore staff to make the decision about whether or not they should strike according to what is best for our education, and for their and their colleagues livelihoods. Students will rally to support you.

We call on all students to support their staff. Join them at the picket lines on Tuesday, walk-out from your lectures, and attend the solidarity demonstration, entitled ‘Student Strike!’ at 2pm – meeting by the clock tower:

https://www.facebook.com/events/475291049254008/?fref=ts

 

 

In solidarity,

Defend Education

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments

Why you should support the Student Strike Demonstration on Tuesday 2PM (clock tower)

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments

8 ways how you can support the campaign

Over the past few weeks we have received so many amazing messages and statements of support, supplies of food to the occupation, and overwhelming attendance at the demonstrations so far. Through this, we were shown how many students support and agree with the 10 demands, but do not necessarily feel comfortable to go into an occupation or participate in radical forms of direct action, so we’ve written up 8 different ways of how you can support the campaign without sleeping in the Senate Chambers for a week…

1. Mobilise for next Tuesday on Facebook by changing your profile picture, inviting all your friends to the event and obviously clicking attending yourself!

Next Tuesday is not only strike day, it is also the first demonstration since the eviction of the occupation. Therefore this will be an incredibly important step to increase the pressure on the university and to show how serious we are about our demands.

2. Mobilise for next Tuesday on campus on Monday by chalking, flyering, postering and giving lecture shout-outs everywhere!

There will always be someone sitting in the Nuffield building with flyers, chalk and a lecture shout-out timetable, so just head over there for more instructions or guidance on giving the shout-outs.

3. Wear a red square!

The red square is a symbol for “Free Education”. It comes from Quebec where it became the symbol of a mass movement that successfully stopped the rise of tuition fees, wear it in solidarity! You can pick one up at our meetings, protests or by asking for one on the group.

4. Join the Defend Education Facebook group and come to our meetings!

Defend Education is a democratic group and everyone interested is welcome to our meetings. If you want to get involved in the actual decision making process of the campaign then you should definitely come to our meetings, Mondays at 6pm in the Nuffield Learning Centre.

5. Send a letter to Amnesty International!

Two years ago Amnesty International condemned the University for giving out an injunction for any occupational style protest on campus. Now we are in a very similar situation and want to try to get their attention again. Please join us in sending them a letter – we have a template available if you’d like or just send your own!

6. Send a letter to university management!

University management insists that the occupiers do not represent the student body. Show them that there are many more of us and that you agree with the demands of Defend Education. Send the university a letter – template also available if you wish.

7. Write blog posts and articles!

While we have our own blog, it is always really important to hear different perspectives on the campaign and the different actions. For example, if you have specific interest in one of the demands, please write an article about it and send it to us to publish/circulate.

8. Organize your own event!

Are you passionate about the campaign, but instead of going to another protest you would rather organise a concert or paint a massive banner? Please post your ideas in the Defend Education group, see what people think and put them into practice!

We hope that these help you to get involved in the campaign and put pressure on the University to recognise its students an999453_10152382164460278_76795880_nd negotiate with Defend Education!!!

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments

Occupiers forcibly evicted in early morning raid - not the end of the campaign !

University security, police and bailiffs broke up our occupation of the university senate chamber and adjoining rooms this morning. They were spotted gathering outside around 6am and about 30 supporters came down to defend the occupation and stand in solidarity with the occupiers.

Security, police and bailiffs entered the occupation at 7am, by taking down the barricade on the main staircase with heavy cutting tools. The students inside retreated to the senate chamber, linked arms and blocking the doors. Bailiffs attacked and forced their way through the students linking arms, eventually moving into the occupation. The students were reading their rights. Still after that, students passively resisted removal, before leaving the occupation peacefully as a group later. Few students were handled roughly by University Security.

No arrests were made and the students inside were shoved out of the building to join up with their supporters.

This is by no means the end of the campaign.

As early as last Monday, under the threat of the injunction, student campaigners strengthened the focus on a wide variety of other methods of direct action in order to press the need for negotiations on the demands and to raise awareness of the dire problems we face and mobilise the university community.

It is vital for the University management to understand that just because- under use of disproportionate force- they managed to evacuate the occupiers, trivialising the link between the University management, lack of opportunities for real staff and student involvement and token democracy as core problems at our University will only enforce awareness and resistance. The demands now stand stronger than ever amongst students and staff.

Defend Education got insightful responses concerning University management from appalled students at the postgraduate open day on Wednesday.
A support demonstration and strike day of action has been called in solidarity with the planned UCU strike. Join us on the UCU pickets and for a rally for 2pm meet at the clocktower.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments