The SU was occupied today by students protesting privatisation of education and the PREVENT policy. Beginning at 8am students gathered to make posters, distribute leaflets and raise awareness for their cause.
Part of a larger national movement, organised by the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, the sit in at the University of Bath Student Union was in parallel with other Student Union sit in’s around the country.
One of the organisers – Meg Murphy – stated that, “today’s occupation is about trying to raise awareness amongst students and lecturers that politics and policy making carried out in the decision-making boards of our country and by our governments affect everyone and that we can have a say, we have a voice, and can be heard.”
Political activity at the University of Bath has historically been inactive and disengaged, especially in comparison to our neighbours at Bath Spa and our Bristol peers. However, beginning with the last general election in May, political activity is beginning to take shape across campus – as seen by the creation of the Left Solidarity Society.
The Left Solidarity Society – along with Bath Students against Cuts and Fees – had recently organised transport to take part in the large student demonstrations in London at the beginning of November. With the majority of student turnout being from Bath Spa, the University’s commitment was deemed absolutely abysmal by Lauren and Meg, two of the few University of Bath students to attend.
Speaking to Deivi Ois, “A lot of people don’t know about the green paper [published just after the London student protests]or PREVENT policy. It is quite important that we come here and give them leaflets and provide them with some sort of information that they understand their future is also affected by this.”
They hope to begin political activity and life on campus, “In the short term raising awareness and knowledge about what is going on, in the long- term it is having more events, more occupations, more ways of engaging people so that those higher up in managerial positions either at this university or nationally know that we are unhappy and dissatisfied with what is happening.”
The fundamental aim of motivating students to participate and become more engaged in political life can only be a positive thing – where more awareness will bring more discussion and subsequently the student’s needs and demands can be addressed more efficiently.
They are still down in the SU if you want to go and check it out, hopefully learn something new, whether you agree with their stance or not. It is important to remember that in the world we live in today the power of communication is immense and this should encourage us to spread our opinions as it seems to be the best way to improve them and learn to grow as individuals but also as a community – in this case the University of Bath.
Reporting by: Alisha Lobo
Writing by: Tommaso Mazzanti