Students from the University of Sheffield have today occupied Nick Clegg’s constituency office in the name of free education – against tuition fees, privatization and cutbacks.
Speaking to the Student Assembly Against Austerity, activist Chris Saltmarsh said:
"We at the free university of Sheffield, an autonomous collective for free education, occupied Nick clegg's constituency office until police intimidated us out. Right now are still outside the office and are planning to run seminars"
In a statement to the press, the occupiers have said:
“Currently universities are built on the idea that students are customers and that education is a personal investment. We believe that education needs to be seen as a public good which benefits society as a whole. It must be free and accessible to everybody, and the responsibility for this should be distributed throughout society. This responsibility lies with those who can afford it – the rich and the corporations—not with those who benefit from it the most. Students should not be crippled by debt simply for choosing higher education.
“We need to remind ourselves of education’s intrinsic value; it can give us fulfilment, empowerment and a shared sense of cooperation – something which has been lost in today’s universities.
“In 2010, Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems got into power on the back of a promise to end tuition fees. Instead, they tripled them. Almost half of Lib Dem MPs broke their personal promise to vote against a fee rise. And only four days ago they announced that they would stop Labour from cutting tuition fees if the two parties went into coalition. The Lib Dems have repeatedly shown that they do not care about the students who elected them into power five years ago.”
The Student Assembly Against Austerity stands in solidarity with the students taking this direct action and offers its fully support to The Free University of Sheffield Campaign.