Press Statement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

At 6am Wednesday morning, around 20 students from the University of St Andrews occupied St Salvator’s Quad to protest against the raising of rest of UK (RUK) fees to £9,000 a year, under the name of ’36 Hours Against 36 Thousand’.

The group 36 Hours Against 36 Thousand is a leaderless group of students using use non-violent direct action to oppose unjust university policy, and to promote access to university that is based on academic merit rather than ability to pay. The protest is the third in a series of rolling occupations aiming to reverse management decisions that have been made in an undemocratic and underhand fashion. This occupation follows previous ones in the Samurai Gardens in October, and St Mary’s Quad earlier this month.

The 500% fee increase in RUK fees makes St Andrews the most expensive university in Europe to achieve an undergraduate degree. As well as opposing the fee increase, the occupiers demand that consultation is improved in decision-making bodies, so that the students who make up the vast majority of the population of the university have their voice adequately heard.

One third year International Relations student said: “Given that I have had the opportunity to study at this University, I would hate to see people lose out on the unique St Andrews experience purely because they can’t afford these extortionate fees. We are here to show that the decision to raise fees by 500% was made by management, and that there is little widespread support for the increase on the campus.”

A fourth year Social Anthropology student revealed “one of the most important factors in my decision to come to study at this university was the financial one, and so it saddens me greatly that students from beyond the Scottish borders will be forced to pay so much more to subsidise the rest of us. I am still not convinced that quadrupling fees for one third of the student-body as suddenly and aggressively as our principal has decided to do should even be considered as an option. Especially in a society that places the human individual at its core.”

The occupier’s relationship with the prospective students arriving for the open day was summed up by a third year Geographer: “by occupying we are showing potential students that the elitist reputation of St Andrews students is unfounded. We encourage those looking at the university to ask the awkward questions about funding that the university is trying to avoid answering. Our actions are based on our concern for the university that prospective students will inherit”

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/36-Hours-Against-36-Thousand/
Twitter: @standrewsoccupy
Website: http://standrewsoccupied.wordpress.com/
Email: standrewsoccupy@gmail.com

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Another Occupation

Students have occupied St Salvator’s Quad in protest to the rise in RUK fees. Details to follow shortly…

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The reason for increased tuition fees?

Well that would explain the funding discrepancies…

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Tent city lives on

Things at the occupation are banterous.

We have candles, cozy tents and lovely people all around. We are also overwhelmed by the quantity of food we have received, courtesy of passers-by as well as local businesses acting in the spirit of solidarity. A trip to Maisha proved highly fruitful, as the restaurant promised to make us snack to feast on during the last hours of our occupation. Fisher and Donaldson proved sympathetic to our cause too, and donated heaps of buns and cakes. One of the cakes looks very much like a potato with an ugly face. Quite disturbing to pull out such a thing out of a bag.

Besides good times being had, many interesting people dropped in during the day for a chat and kind words of support. We were graced by the visits of a variety of lecturers from a range of departments, the chaplain, a local police officer as well as members of Estates, who stopped by for a cup of tea.

The occupation spirit lives on, and once you get the bug, it is hard to go back. We’re thinking of all our fellow tent protesters all over the world and feeling peaceful.
 

 

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Braving Another Fife Night

This is about the point where the cold kicks in and we start to wonder quite why we decided to occupy outside again. Last year we were complaining that the University turned the heating off. We didn’t know how lucky we were…

Still, despite the chill we have over 20 people enjoying the various food and drink given to us by friends and supporters. We’ve had various students and staff coming to talk to us: both to express their support and to ask us whether we’re actually mad enough to camp overnight. The atmosphere is good and relations with Estates are excellent once again.

We also saw that Birmingham went into occupation briefly. Our solidarity and support went with them as they sought to “advance a set of demands centred on justice in education and educational institutions.” As they noted, this is the beginning of the build-up to the National Demo on November 9th. This will be the biggest student protest of the year and naturally activists from St Andrews will be joining thousands of people on the streets of London to resist the betrayal of a generation. We hope you will too

 

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Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday afternoon saw anti-cuts activists in St. Andrews occupied University property to demonstrate against the recent increase in fees for rest of UK (RUK) students. Around 30 students set up camp in St. Marys Quad in St. Andrews at 12 midday under the banner of ’36 Hours Against 36 Thousand’, with a view to occupying for 36 hours.

36 Hours Against 36 Thousand, a leaderless group pledged to use non-violent direct action to resist unfair and undemocratic university management decisions, are following on from the recent occupation of the Principal’s garden. Activists have released demands which include: reversing the decision to charge students £9,000 a year, reform of University decision making bodies and calls for pay cuts to senior University management. The fee increase makes St Andrews the most expensive university in Europe. The occupation will end at midnight Thursday. The occupation is the second in a sustained campaign to change university policy.

First year student Alice Manning said “As an English student, I would have had serious doubts about coming to St Andrews if I was asked to graduate with £36,000 debt in tuition fees. This decision can only undermine St Andrew’s reputation as a leading University.”

Fourth year student Alexander Bennett showed the anger at the government in Westminster, saying, “The fee increase was only allowed with thanks to a Conservative
government that Scotland did not elect.”

Third year student James Hopkins told people, “The decision to charge RUK students  £36,000 was made by people unelected by students. The few elected student representatives at the University voted against the decision but it has still gone ahead. The undemocratic nature of the decision means we feel compelled to occupy to make our voice heard.”

Patrick O’Hare, Students Association President, said, “The Students Association has voted to support occupation as an effective means of expressing discontent with the university’s decision, and we will continue to protest the imposition of extortionate tuition fees at St Andrews. The fee increase will have a negative effect on the university’s widening access policy, and on its ability to attract students from non-traditional backgrounds.”

The UCU in St Andrews said that they support the Students Association’s opposition to the fee increase and that they support the students in their protest.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/36-Hours-Against-36-Thousand/.

Twitter: @standrewsoccupy

Website: http://standrewsoccupied.wordpress.com/

Email:  standrewsoccupy@gmail.com

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St Andrews Occupies Again

As of 12 midday, students from the University of St Andrews occupied St Mary’s Quad in protest to the increase in RUK fees. The occupation will last until midnight Thursday.

Please come along if you oppose the unjustified and undemocratic decision to make St Andrews the most expensive University in Europe.

Details and a press release to be forthcoming.

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