On 8 February, over 100 students at Sussex University in South East England marched up to the top floor of the university’s prestigious Bramber House conference centre and staged a “‘flash occupation”. They marched out 30 hours later, promising more actions to come in the future.
The occupation was part of the Defend Sussex Campaign, an ongoing fight by students and staff at Sussex against savage cuts that the university is planning. The cuts amount to £3 million this academic year, and £5 million next year, meaning course closures, job losses and fee increases.
However at the same time as proposing these cuts, the university administration is planning to spend £112 million on new buildings and refurbishments on campus, as well as raising the salaries of the top 14 managers to a combined £2.1 million per year.
Bin workers in Sussex, who had recently been on strike against cuts that they were facing themselves, got in touch with the occupiers to pledge their support. The students released a statement on the day of the action acknowledging the waves of university and workplace occupations sweeping across California, New York, Greece, Croatia, Germany, Austria and elsewhere:
We send greetings of solidarity and cheerful grins to all those occupation movements and everyone else fighting the pay cuts, cuts in services and jobs which will multiply everywhere as bosses and states try and pull out of the crisis.
But we are the crisis.
Profitability means nothing against the livelihoods destroyed, lost homes, austerity measures, green or otherwise. We just heard we’ve increased ‘operational costs’ – they’d set out the building for a meeting and now they’ll have to do it again
We’ll show them “operational costs.”
Occupy again and again and again.
NO CUTS ANYWHERE.
THE UNIVERSITY IS A FACTORY. STRIKE. OCCUPY.
-All the occupiers of the 8th of February.