Today, a group of approximately 15 students successfully occupied the entrance to the Vice-Chancellor’s office. We were there to express solidarity with striking university staff, as well as raise a series of demands to university management. The occupation ended with us successfully forcing a meeting with Sir Christopher Snowden himself.
We raised our demands: reducing his salary (a ludicrous £433K); scrapping the proposed changes to the PASNAS and USS pension schemes, including the switch from defined benefit to defined contribution schemes; and a moratorium on all staff cuts.
Snowden was largely roundabout, sticking to the standard management line and bogging himself down in how UUK makes decisions. His answers were largely meaningless, and we are now calling for a public, student-organized, town hall meeting to address concerns from both students and staff in a public forum.
To their credit, security was not only cooperative but largely supportive of our cause. This has been a win for transparency at the university, but countless questions remain, not to mention a reasonable show of not just hollow promises but public action on behalf of lecturers and staff.
Other issues raised include Snowden claiming to answer every single email received from students, quickly rebutted with offered examples of ignored emails from students within the occupying group.
Videos of the meeting can be found here on the “Southampton Students Against University Cuts” Facebook Page.