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5 October 2011

Campaigners learn the ropes

Samantha Garratt, Leeds Trinity Students Against Cuts (LTSAC)

Leeds Trinity University College was named in some reports as the most likely university to close due to the hike in tuition fees. After the 10 November NUS demo and a local march in Leeds, a group of students from Trinity decided it was time we organised ourselves to fight back against the ridiculous proposals.

LTSAC started off with public meetings and countless leaflets in order to get other like-minded students involved. We then occupied one of the most visible rooms on campus. For most of us this was the first time we had participated in any kind of protest, so we asked for help from the Socialist Party who had sent a speaker to our first public meeting.

Socialist Party members helped link LTSAC with the likes of Leeds University Against Cuts, Youth Fight For Jobs and local press contacts. This not only helped us share ideas but also gave us more opportunities to spread the word about our activities.

The Socialist Party also helped us work out our demands by giving us examples from other occupations and campaigns. We won two of our demands - "no victimisation of staff or students involved in activity" and "permanent office space to run anti-cuts campaigns from".

LTSAC held the very first occupation, rally and political discussions in the history of Leeds Trinity University College.

Meetings within the occupation included the successful struggle against Thatcher's poll tax and how Liverpool City council successfully defended jobs and services in the 1980s by adopting a deficit budget and leading a mass campaign to win the extra money from the Tory government.

We have had vast press coverage including on local radio and a two page spread in the Independent newspaper which shows how far LTSAC has come with a helping hand from our friends at various unions, staff at Trinity and the Socialist Party.