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THROWBACK: Why students occupied University of Nottingham building

A group of students occupied a lecture theatre at the University of Nottingham in a show of solidarity with striking teaching staff.

Nottingham Student Solidarity (NSS), mostly made up of University of Nottingham students, occupied the Coates Road Auditorium on Monday, March 9 at around 6pm.

The demonstration was intended to support university staff participating in the latest round of UCU strikes.

The University and College Union (UCU) is a trade union for employees working in higher and further education in the UK.

On February 3, the union declared 14 days of strike action to take place in February and March.

Sam Harris, an undergraduate at Nottingham Trent University, claimed that the demonstration to support striking UCU members was their “last port of call”.

The 20-year-old said: “[Staff] aren’t seen as people, they’re seen as cogs in the machine.

“This is unsustainable.

“We want to see their pay increase, their pensions contributions decrease, their stress levels decrease, and their workload decrease.”

The UCU’s demands include requiring universities to make improvements on pay, equality, casualisation and workloads.

Screenshot-at-Mar-31-00-20-52-min-1536x1156
The Coates Road Auditorium at the University of Nottingham.

The occupation lasted for four nights, during which protestors ate, studied and slept in the auditorium.

Another student, Emily Aitchison, 21, who is Women’s Officer for University of Nottingham Labour Students, spoke of the need to support UCU picketers.

She said: “We can’t, as students, sit by and do nothing.

“It’s about standing side by side with marginalised people all of the time.”

For Emily, her stances on social issues are at odds with the current Government.

“Progressive voices don’t have the backing of the government.

“We have to stand in solidarity with people who are striking.”

By Will Corbett

Freelance Journalist || MA News Journalism at Nottingham Trent University || Contact: wtb.corbett@gmail.com

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