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The official blog of the University of Lincoln occupation.
With thought-provoking posts by occupiers in MB1019.
We are currently not in occupation, but the blog remains active.

The University of Lincoln on the 8th of December, directly following a Socialist Students and NUS march. The demonstration was in response to the coalition’s plans to treble university fees and cut EMA, whilst cutting university lecturers and funding, with a focus on arts and humanities. We chose to occupy the day before the votes went through in parliament, and in solidarity with the other occupations and movements up and down the country, and worldwide. We decided to work loosely in consensus, and with no official leadership or representatives.

Our occupation believes

-In free education for all. We are against any tuition fee rises
-In investments, not cuts, to public services. Instead of taxing services, education and welfare, why not address corporate tax avoidance and banking management’s bonuses?
-In equal opportunities to study. We demand the immediate re-instatement of EMA, for all further education students, and are against cuts in grants.
-In the right to recall all MPs, (specifically our own, Karl McCartney) who either make U-turns on their promises, or fail to support and listen to their constituents needs, and act in their own interests
-In the right to freedom of protest. There should be no victimisation of anybody protesting against the cuts, whether by police, media, or educational institutions

We are in solidarity with all workers and those affected by the cuts proposed. We especially support the members of the Lincoln & District Trades’ Council; UNISON; UCU; PCS; Lincoln Stop the Cuts Campaign; And all public services taking cuts, including Lincolnshire Police; And of course, all university staff, and any industrial action they choose to take.

We call upon the institutions of the University of Lincoln; Bishop Grosseteste University College; Lincoln College; all Lincoln schools, and their senior staff to defend education by actively and publicly opposing the cuts.

After our first night, some of us headed to London for the day that the bill was passed, and it was decided that the other occupiers wished to continue the fight. We used this space for a number of things, including talks from lecturers and reclaiming university space for students to use how they best see it. Though a fun and laid back occupation, most of the time was spent swapping information with other universities, spreading the word, and getting on with our coursework.

We finally arranged a meeting with our Vice Chancellor, Mary Stuart to discuss these aims:

-For the University of Lincoln, and its senior management to defend education by publicly opposing the cuts.
-To organise a public meeting of students, lecturers, staff and management, where the university can declare where it stands and discuss the possible outcomes.
-To support, engage with, and participate in the formation of a committee on the cuts, including all above.
-A published document listing a break down of how it is expected that the cuts will affect each department.
-Help and support in publicising through all available channels, the ways in which the cuts will affect staff and students, (including the removal of EMA and ALG).
-The university takes steps towards ending the casualisation of the majority of staff, and that full contracts are offered where possible. Job security is important.
-That UoL continues to do as much as possible to ensure staff are not overworked or stressed.
-There should be no victimisation by the university of any students involved in non-violent protest.
-Students should be recognised as participants in the university system, rather than purely limited to liasing through the Students’ Union.

Nearly all of these were addressed satisfactorily, and we felt content that the university is making at least reasonable effort to address these aims, both in support of us, and independently. There will be a news post on the outcome of the meeting once term has begun, going into further details of why we felt we reached a suitable agreement. On that note, we chose to end the occupation before the Winter holidays.

Overall, the staff, lecturers, and senior management (and Trade Unions) have been very supportive of what we are trying to achieve, with the VC being amongst those to use the word “proud”. Our fight isn’t over, what with the cuts to university, arts, education, public services, welfare, and other austerity measures kicking in at the start of this year. We will be doing our best both on and off campus, to support those affected and build Lincoln’s student, and anti cuts movement. We will have the meeting we asked for, and decide on action from there. We may not choose occupation as our method of action next time, but until then, our blog and our Twitter feed remain.

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