There is a battle taking place across the country; students are demanding reform to education. For far too long students have been marginalised, treated with contempt and ignored. This is Just one of the many sentiments expressed at the occupation of Goldsmiths University of London.
I arrived at Goldsmiths from Brighton on Sunday evening not knowing what to expect, but looking forward to seeing how things were playing out, what the mood was like, to find out exactly it is they are trying to achieve.
Upon entering, I was warmly welcomed with conversation, greetings and offered food, which summaries my whole experience there. What had manifested was the alternative to university that students wanted to see, a community where everyone is valued highly and equally.
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I soon found out that the issues ran deeper, it wasn't just the fact that despite having millions in reserve the University has then decided to make cuts in key areas such as the well-being of students. Cuts in resources and staff whilst also choosing to expand student numbers despite limiting recourses is a consequence of the shift away from education and students itself onto profit, it's ideological, cruel and dangerous.
Many students feel like they are being attacked from all sides, their student loans go straight into the pockets of landlords, the loan that is to help them look after themselves is now essentially a subsidy from the government to Landlords Via students.
Here formed is a democratic movement, with no hierarchy everything is pluralistic. At times I found myself thinking what if Governments including and especially our own were like this? what if institutions like Universities had the same values?
Liberation is at the heart of this movement, there are banners proclaiming that black lives matter, one highlighting the murders of transgender people. All these forms of oppression interlink and and it is time to stand up and hold these powerful people and intuitions to account.
Some of the demands from students are
. No more increase in student numbers without providing recourses to improve it
. More BME teachers
. Address the wage disparity in staff
. Living wage for all staff
. A diverse and representative curriculum
It is a similar story across the country, none of these demands are unacceptable nor are they hard to implement that is why it is even more infuriating that Universities continue to treat students with contempt. Is profit really that important that you will put lives at risk by cutting the number of councillors? Do you not believe in racial equality?