Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/534/4141
Southampton students: 'Don't gag us'
15 May, over 100 Southampton University students occupied the entrance to the lecture theatre due to host the University Court meeting, photo Southampton Socialist students
ON 15 May, over 100 Southampton University students occupied the entrance to the lecture theatre due to host the University Court meeting, a jamboree for elite dignitaries and corporate university sponsors such as HSBC bank and arms dealer BAe.
Clare Blackwell, Will Schafer-Peek and Gavin Marsh, Southampton Socialist Students
Students staged a silent sit-in outside the meeting, wearing gags to represent the silencing of the student voice, after the university's unilateral decision to remove the Southampton Student Union president's vote on the vice chancellor's appointment panel.
The vice-chancellor, Bill Wakeham, has systematically removed student votes from university committees, totally undermining the principle of student representation in the university. Meanwhile, the university woos investment from companies with dubious ethical records.
Companies like BAe Systems (who get the university to carry out arms research in return for research grants) and banking corporation HSBC have more of a say in running this university and others than students do.
Students were angry at the stifling of democracy and other issues such as increased fees, reduced contact time with tutors and non-existent lectures. This protest shows students are willing to take action to fight back against the effects of the university and government's neo-liberal agenda of marketising education.
Some students are meeting to establish a 'parallel university' which will host radical lectures, alternative film screenings etc. and will also be an organising centre to fight any deterioration in our education.
Socialist Students plays an active role in organising the fight-back at over 50 universities across the country and we will keep opposing the marketisation of our education.
In The Socialist 21 May 2008:
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party campaigns
Environment: Nuclear power
France 1968 - month of revolution
International socialist news and analysis