Sussex University Occupation and The Struggle for Education


Pluto Press sends our solidarity to the students, teachers and staff at Sussex University who have been occupying over the outsourcing of all non academic services, including 235 jobs. The school has been under Occupation since early February and as yet is showing no sign of ending – which can be seen as a good or bad sign.

The Occupiers’ demands are as follows

1. A complete halting of the ongoing bidding process and end to the entire privatisation program, effective immediately.

2. A commission of students, staff and lecturers to be formed. With full remit to re-evaluate procedures and channels for holding management accountable as well as reviewing and extending student and workers’ say in these decisions.

3. An end to the intimidation that senior and middle management have used to deter students and workers for airing and acting on their concerns.

On Monday it was announced that the staff have got together to form a single issue ‘Pop Up Union‘ to effectively combat the ongoing enforced privatization. To find out more and join look here –

In not such great news, Sussex University is seeking a high court injunction to ban all protest on the campus until September this year. Sign a petition by 2pm today, telling Michael Farthing, Sussex University Vice Chancellor to withdraw his request for a ban on protest, a ban that would effectively criminalise and end the occupation.

Currently an eviction has been postponed by a high court judge on the grounds that the occupiers need more time to argue their case. For more information see the Sussex Against Privatization blog here, a growing growing archive of material on Libcom here, and a report on Monday’s demonstration by Sussex University student Jessie Thompson in The Independent here.

For detailed analysis of the ongoing restructuring of higher education in the UK, look out for Andrew McGettigan’s forthcoming book The Great University Gamble (below), which takes an informed and critical look at the economic thinking behind the creeping privatization of University. Last week McGettigan talked at the Council for the Defence of British Universities conference. You can listen to his talk, and others here.

The Great University Gamble

Money, Markets and the Future of Higher Education

Andrew McGettigan

A critical and deeply informed survey of the brave new world of UK Higher Education emerging from government cuts and market-driven reforms.

“Andrew McGettigan is in my opinion by far the most knowledgeable person in the country on the government’s obscure and yet revolutionary programme of change for universities. He provides us with a full and independent view of the short, medium and longer-term implications of the government’s plans. This book is essential and deeply worrying reading.” – Simon Szreter, Professor of History and Public Policy, University of Cambridge

“Andrew McGettigan is one of the most respected and incisive commentators on higher education. There are no other texts at present that address the political economy of higher education and none that put all the pieces of the jigsaw together to reveal the picture with such clarity.” – John Holmwood, Professor of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Nottingham, co-founder of the Campaign for the Public University and editor of A Manifesto for the Public University (2011)

£16.99 only £15.00 on the Pluto site

The Assault on Universities

A Manifesto for Resistance

Edited by Michael Bailey and Des Freedman

Sharp essays take on the government’s agenda of university cuts and fee increases, and outline an alternative manifesto for higher education.

“The corporatising of universal education is one of the most insidious and dangerous attacks on the very notion of human rights. This book calls us to arms. Every student, every educator who cares should read it.” – John Pilger

“This is an essential book. The future of our universities is up for grabs and the manifesto will play a huge role in providing alternatives at a time when the government says there aren’t any.” – Clare Solomon, President of the University of London Union (ULU) 2010-11 and editor of Springtime (2011)

£14.99 only £13.00 on the Pluto site

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