UPDATE - NEW CROSS: Students occupy Goldsmiths library in protest over tuition fees (From News Shopper)
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UPDATE - NEW CROSS: Students occupy Goldsmiths library in protest over tuition fees
STUDENTS from Goldsmiths University have occupied the library in a protest over tuition fees for a second night.
Around 60 people are believed to have been in the New Cross building since 8.30pm on Monday (December 6), preventing staff from working.
The action comes days before a national protest against a rise in tuition fees due to take place tomorrow.
News Shopper visited the library last night (December 7) to speak to the students.
Roisin Armstrong, who studies anthropology, said: “We felt the library was the most visual from the street to get the rest of the community involved.
“We have been sleeping in the library. There were over 150 people for the initial occupation.”
The 21-year-old added: “I feel like the national protest is a way of creating media attention but occupation puts pressure on management at the university.
“The occupation is a way of mobilising the student body to go on Thursday.
“The library has the most traffic throughout the campus so we are able to influence the most amount of people.”
During a meeting last night students voted in favour of allowing library staff to enter the building to carry out their work.
A workshop on practical ways to break out of kettles was also held.
Angelo Matthews, 25, said: “It’s really important that we mobilise and organise for Thursday to show parliament what we think in terms of the fees.
“We are occupying the library to show support and solidarity with the local community.
“Five libraries could be cut by the council. This is an amazing library that people from the local community cannot use. We have opened it up to everyone.”
The anthropology student added: “The university has not responded to our demands. We are going to be here until they start listening to us.”
A statement on the Goldsmith Occupation blog said: “We have occupied the university library in opposition to the increase in university fees and cuts in education as a whole.
“We act in solidarity with all the student occupations throughout the globe and those facing cuts across the social sphere.
“We oppose the proposed change in fees structure and the cuts to teaching subsidy across education in the UK, which will include a 100 percent cut to funding for teaching in arts, humanities and social sciences.”
It added: “We have taken over Goldsmiths’ Library, the most publicly visible and accessible physical space in the college.
“We are opening it as a centre for organisation, available 24 hours a day to students and all those on the receiving end of the government’s assault in the Lewisham community.
“We offer our support to recipients of the EMA grant, benefits and services, all of which are being attacked by local and national government.
“We support library staff at Goldsmiths and public libraries across Lewisham.”
A statement on the Goldsmith website by Hugh Jones, registrar and secretary, said: “The library is not in the control of the College and because of this, we cannot be responsible for the space or for people who choose to enter it.”
The Goldsmith Occupation blog has listed a number of demands for Goldsmith management.
• Immediately make a public statement opposing fees and the vote for their increase due in parliament on December 9.
We refuse all current and further cuts at Goldsmiths.
• Implement no further cuts to departments and budgets at Goldsmiths, nor any further redundancies.
• Steps forward to defend all those from Goldsmiths arrested or in other ways victimised during the current struggles against the cuts.
We condemn the police’s violent and heavy-handed tactics used against students, staff and their supporters.
• Do not penalise library staff in any way, nor dock their pay during the occupation • Ceases its campaign of cuts against the Goldsmiths Nursery.
• Retract their threat to charge Goldsmiths’ Student Union £15,000 in response to the occupation of Deptford Town Hall.
This occupation, like that one, is independent of the Student Union.
• Do not take any disciplinary actions whatsoever against those involved in this occupation.”