The summer term at UK universities has opened with direct action by students involved in rent and fee strikes — a last push in this academic year to win our demands. Student rent strike activists at Nottingham University, Sheffield Hallam, Sheffield University and Manchester University have occupied university buildings. When two Sheffield Hallam students were filmed being pinned to the floor by security guards, as they went into occupation in the Cantor building, there was a big push back on social media; this was seen to be typical of the way students have been treated all year.
Elsewhere — at Goldsmiths, LSE — online and in person rallies are being held in the next week.
Keeping up momentum into next term is key. There will be no going “back to normal” for University managements, who will be pushing for cuts. Last weekend (24-25 April) an online organising school was held under the banner of “The Red Square Movement”. Modelled on the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, which came out of the 2010 movement against fee hikes, this is a coming together of rent strike organisers. The school, organised by The World Transformed, Liberate the University and others had useful debates. We will be pushing for the movement to hold a policy-making founding conference which can consolidate national organisation and encourage the setting up of local activist groups.