University of Sheffield occupation.

‘The University of Sheffield has begun legal action against a group of students who have been occupying a lecture theatre for a week as they continue to protest against “the current assault on higher education.”

After meeting with members of management to discuss their demands, on 3 March, the demonstrators of The Free University of Sheffield movement received an email which confirmed that a legal process has started to gain possession of the space. It added: “We would much prefer it if the occupation could be brought to a swift conclusion.”

The students announced their intent to occupy the Richard Roberts Auditorium on 29 February and, in a statement, had said: “In recent years, we’ve seen the complete separation of the public from our ‘public’ education system. In this era of marketisation, we’re seeing students treated as consumers - to be passive recipients of information for the sake of employability - rather than producers of knowledge.’ - Independent

‘More than 30 lecturers and academic staff at the University of Sheffield have declared their support for [the] students…In a letter of solidarity to the Independent, 38 signatories, so far, have said they share their concerns about the increasing marketisation, and the implications this has for free academic discussion and debate.

The letter adds: “We would like to emphasise the occupation is not designed to disrupt learning. The occupiers have been fully supportive of any lectures that have gone ahead. Rather than disrupt learning, one of the key aims of the occupation is to question and rethink the nature of educational space.”’ - Independent, later article


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