Students privatisation protest at Sussex University brought to an end

A group of students have been protesting at Sussex University for some time now, with their main issue being the privatisation plans that the institution had announced, but now they have been evicted from the premises. This action required the use of over 100 police officers in full riot gear, coming in by vans, along with bailiffs and private security firms coming in to remove the protesters from the campus.

The protest lasted eight weeks and was the source of inspiration for staff and students at Sussex and other places where people feel education has been under attack for quite some time. Instead of discussing the issue however, or arguing and presenting alternatives, the management at the University decided to ban all protest activities, and asked the police to arrest anyone staying on campus grand for speaking their mind.

Four students were arrested as a result, with the others being chased away. Authorities are also investigating one student for violent acts, and this carries a maximum possible sentence of five years in jail. The students were protesting the tripling of fees since autumn 2010, and jail sentences were issued in the past. Zenon Mitchell, a former student, was sentenced to 15 months for his protest activities at Millbank.

The students leading this protest hope that this will be the beginning of a campaign by students and staff to undermine this authoritarian measure and that the university management will remove this draconian measure immediately so students can keep protesting peacefully. Many see that management’s assertion that they support peaceful protest is an insult to students and teachers alike.