Students have occupied the University of London’s administrative center, Senate House

Senate House Around 70 students have occupied Senate House, the administrative centre of University of London, in protest over the governments plans to privatise the student loan book, the closure of University of London Union and in support of Higher Education workers fighting for improved pay.

This follows a wave of occupations in universities across the country in the last few days including Edinburgh, Birmingham, Sussex and Goldsmiths. Their demands include:

  1. The university issue a statement condemning the privatisation of the student loan book, which a secret report by its buyers at the Rothschild bank states should be followed with a retrospective interest rate hike which will further add to historic levels of student debt.
  2. The university abandon its plans to take our University of London Union out of the hands of students and pass it over to unelected management. This threatens all the services and societies ULU facilitates and is a fundamental attack on our right to unionise.

  3. That the completely reasonable demands over pay and conditions, put forward by higher education academic unions and the 3 Cosas campaign and Justice for Cleaners, be met: giving academic staff the resources they need to do their jobs, and bringing the sick pay, holidays and pensions of contracted university staff in line with in-house staff.

Save uluMya Pope-Weidemann, a student at SOAS and part of the occupation said “With the privatisation of the student loan book, the lib dem betrayal of students is complete. We are already being saddled with record breaking financial burdens, crushed between soaring living costs and plummeting employment prospects. The assurances that interest rates are safe in bankers’ hands is laughable, it’s like trusting a shark to look after a seal. £900m of student loans sold off to the Rothschild bank for £160m and they have the nerve to call it value for public money? The Tories and their friends are conspiring to squeeze every last penny out of what is fast becoming Britain’s lost generation. And we won’t take this degree of shameless exploitation lying down. The government can expect growing resistance nationally.”

The Student Assembly Against Austerity works as part of the People’s Assembly and is a broad based campaign against cuts, privatisation and in defense of the welfare state and public services.