Cambridge Defend Education occupy Old Schools Building

Image credit: CDE Twitter

Members of the activist group Cambridge Defend Education have occupied the University's Old Schools building in central Cambridge. Security are allowed staff members to exit but only allowing personnel with University badges into the complex. One of the people who was allowed entrance is thought to be one of the University's solicitors. 

On a series of Facebook posts, the group wrote: "Old Schools is occupied! Students are occupying in support of staff who are striking, and to hold the university to account through three issued demands:

- Demand that the Vice Chancellor void the university's response to the USS consultation in September 2017, and actively lobby UUK to maintain the USS Defined Benefit Scheme in the long term, with Cambridge as a member.

- In line with Toope’s promises to being open and transparent, to hold an open meeting with students and staff to discuss the handling of the pension scheme, and further issues of institutional accountability and democracy. This should include transparency around the university's investments, especially relating to staff pensions.

- Free access to the occupiers, and no disciplinary consequences for students or staff for participation in or support for the occupation."

They later wrote: "Security are trying to remove students from occupation + have locked Old School gates! We need staff and students to stand outside the gates of old schools and DEMAND open access to the occupation and safety for occupiers. Join at Old Schools to make some noise!"

A lecturer in political sociology Thomas Jeffrey Miley told TCS that " the students have a demand. This is a symbolic space, [and that the University] treat the building like a fortress."

A spokesperson for the occupiers said:

“We want a university, not Corporation Cambridge. Staff pensions are under attack because of the actions of a financial bureaucracy, which drives down costs and hikes up fees, ignoring the overwhelming opinion of staff and students. Corporation Cambridge refuses to divest from fossil fuels and continues to implement the Islamophobic Prevent duty, threatening all of our civil liberties, all the while taking millions in corporate funding for new buildings in the midst of the city’s housing crisis. So far, the Vice-Chancellor has refused to answer any of our questions in an open manner.  However, the corporate bureaucracy of this institution must be held accountable beyond short-term solutions.”

The University Communications office told TCS:

"We can confirm that there is an ongoing incident at the Old Schools. University security are aware and on-site."

More to follow.



We can confirm that there is an ongoing incident at the Old Schools. University security are aware and on-site.

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