The current occupation by Defend Education Birmingham would like to express our solidarity with the students occupying the Bramber House Conference Centre for the second time, as part of their ongoing fight against the privatisation of their university. This fight has been going on for over a year. We support the use of direct action in their attempts to open a dialogue with the management of the University of Sussex, and we applaud their persistence in the face of a stubborn refusal to negotiate.
We all share in a common conviction: the main purpose of the higher education system is the education of its students and the research of its academics, not lining the pockets of the management, or acting as a profit making machine. As the Occupy Sussex movement has rightly identified, the preference for privatisation that the management of many universities have shown has now been taken to a ridiculous extreme. The management of both of our Universities has failed to challenge the government’s recent decision to sell off of the student loan book.
In addition to the demonstration today on the part of Unison, GMB and Unite trade unions, other students are engaging in action like this, proving that this is not merely the stance taken by an isolated group, but one shared by staff and students nation-wide. We hope that the courageous actions of the students at Sussex will encourage and inspire others to speak out against this insidious challenge to education.
Yours, from everyone in the Defend Education Birmingham occupation.