About 100 students from across Scotland occupied an Edinburgh University lecture theatre over the weekend of 16-17 September. Before ending their occupation they agreed to disrupt management at Scottish universities with an ongoing campaign of rolling 36 hour occupations across Scotland.
Edinburgh is one of two institutions set to fix fees at the most expensive rate in the UK for students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Robin Parker, NUS Scotland President in supporting the occupation said,
“It’s absolutely no surprise that Edinburgh University students are incredibly angry about their university’s decision to cash in on English, Welsh and Northern Irish students. We stand shoulder to shoulder with those opposing £36,000 fees for students from the rest of the UK.”
Because the University tried to block food from entering the occupation, supplies, including a large donation of curry from the Edinburgh Central Mosque, had to be hoisted into the building with ropes.
Naomi Beecroft, a University of Edinburgh second year Linguistics student said,
“We aim as much as possible to disrupt management. They have refused to undertake an adequately broad student consultation on a decision that could prove to have disastrous consequences for our university. We aim to avoid any disruption to teaching.”
Patrick O’Hare, President of St Andrews University Students’ Association who was taking part in the occupation said:
“The occupation is a courageous move in solidarity with future generations of RUK [rest-of-UK] students who will be priced out the market or saddled with tremendous debts.
“The increases at St Andrews and Edinburgh are especially abhorrent and not justified by the bursaries packages which will reach a comparatively small number of students.
“In St Andrews, the amount cut from the RUK teaching grant was around £3,323 per student, so fees of £9,000 are more than an attempt to cover that loss. Both Principals and the Scottish Government should take their share of the blame; Principals for charging above the advised rate, and the Scottish Government for introducing Tory policies for RUK students.
“These fees are a betrayal of future generations of RUK students, and students and their representatives will continue to oppose them.”