Student Protest Grows

A FOUR-day occupation by students at the School of Oriental and African Studies was brought to an end in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Kieran Roberts, Save Free Education (SFE)

Bailiffs backed by 30 police stormed SOAS, part of the university of London, to evict the students who had been protesting against threats to expel fees non-payers.

Approximately 200 students had been involved in the occupation to defend about 40 known non-payers from expulsion.

SOAS students are not letting the eviction stop them building a campaign to force the management to withdraw the threats to expel non-payers. A meeting took place at Monday lunchtime to plan their next step in their campaign.

Moreover the SOAS occupation has inspired students at Goldsmiths College, UCL and Sussex University to build for occupations to defend students from similar threats to expel non-payers.

In fact, in universities all over the country, letters have been sent out threatening expulsion or suspension. Save Free Education members will respond to these threats wherever we hear about them.

We will organise mass action such as demonstrations, occupations or walkouts to force universities to allow non-payers to stay on their courses.

With tuition fees looking weaker than ever after the abolition of up-front fees in Scotland, the government could be forced to scrap them in the rest of Britain if even a handful of colleges are forced to refuse to collect the fees.

Such a movement would also be well placed to win back a decent grant that students can live on.

In the coming weeks, SFE intend to make sure that this message gets out to the many thousands of students who have not paid their fees this year; Don’t pay up! Organise mass action in your university. We can win.

We demand:

· An amnesty for all those who are not paying their fees.

· No sanctions, exemptions or exclusions of any student who is not paying.

· The complete abolition of fees.

· For a fully funded, non-means tested grant which students can live on.