Some more light hearted news for you to mark the start of the weekend as students occupying a building at the University of Kent have finally ended their month long sit-in protest over education cuts and rises in tuition fees. Young Academic can only heap praise on the dedication of these student who were willing to lose their Christmas breaks and even fast in order to show the government and University officials that they will not lie down. Bravo!
The group of angry students began their occupation of the University’s Senate building situated in the Canterbury campus on December 8th 2010. Although other protests such as the well publicised march in London ended before Christmas, Kent University students remained defiant and sat tight.
Although the students have vowed to keep fighting on, they left the building peacefully at 2am this morning.
One of the protesters was 20 year-old philosophy student Ben Stevenson, he had the following to say of their demonstrations; “After four weeks we feel we have exhausted this type of protest for the time being.
“But it’s not over, it’s simply the end of the beginning and we will continue pursuing our campaign.”
The students had spent much of the festive period without heating and only received food that was passed to them via security guards, underlining the lengths that UK students are prepared to go to in order to convey their thoughts and feelings on what has been a turbulent year. The students wished their University and its vice-chancellor Julia Goodfellow to condemn the government’s plans publicly and support them. After all, where would they be without their paying student ambassadors?
They are also demanding that she retract herself as signatory of a letter, published in the Daily Telegraph on 8 December, which opposed cuts but also supported government plans for university funding.
Professor Goodfellow has since written an open letter in which she again deplored the cuts to higher education funding, but the students said this did not meet their demands.
University officials had aimed to regain control of the building by seeking a possession order at a hearing at Canterbury County Court on Friday.