The occupation of the Great Hall in the Trent Building, which began on the 30th November following a second on-campus protest against the cuts to the Education budget and the subsequent rise in tuition fees, has reached its third day. Around fifty people have been sleeping in the Great Hall overnight, with events happening throughout the day. Many people, including Miss England, the Nottingham Public and Commercial Services Union and the Nottingham University and College Union, have expressed support for the move.
The campaign has expanded onto the web, with a website being updated throughout the day and an active Twitter account now in operation. The protesters are looking to attract as much attention as they can to the cause, though thus far this has been achieved in a peaceful, non-confrontational manner. The University, for its part, seems content for the protest to remain in the Great Hall for the time being and an earlier issue with a lack of heating has apparently been resolved.
There have been guest lectures and screenings taking place in the hall, although concerns were raised in a meeting held on the 1st December that some of the events appear to be associated with the Socialist party, which could cause people to believe that the protest is politically motivated when it isn’t and could deter apolitical people from participating.
“There is a real emphasis on the need for, and importance of, education.” one of the occupiers remarked while talking to Impact “Not only is there a strong sentiment towards avoiding disruption of both one’s own or another’s education, there is a real movement towards using this time to educate each other on new topics. The doors are open for all students to move in and out of the building freely, allowing people to discover what is going on and why”
The University’s Registrar is said to be coming to talk to the Occupation today. With more protest action expected at the weekend it seems, for now, that this protest is likely to continue for a while yet.
Ben McCabe and Mea Goodall