*UPDATE* -> Date changed to Sunday 30th June
Bristol Staff and Students Against Privatisation have called for an online meeting of student activist groups in two weeks time. In their call-out they state:
Facebook event: http://www.facebook.com/events/254000621409837/
March 25th saw impressive nationwide student solidarity as people travelled from near and far to take part in the anti-privatisation demonstration at the University of Sussex. While the attempt at a people’s assembly after the demonstration didn’t really work out, we think it would be good for this discussion to continue on a national basis. We are calling for an online meeting of student activists on Sunday 30th June (i.e after most universities will have finished their summer term) to look back on what we’ve achieved this year, and consider what might be possible for us to do together in the future.
The direction of travel of our universities, left to our managers and vice chancellors, is clear. Sussex is not an isolated example: similar strategies of privatisation are emerging in many universities. Cleaning and catering staff and services are being outsourced; universities are relying upon private halls to house students; student services such as campus shops are being passed over to private companies such as WHSmith. Private companies dictate what universities research, and consequently what students learn.
We have much to gain by sharing the experiences we have had and the tactics we have used in resisting privatisation at our individual universities. We need to make sure our campaigning against them does not extend only to keeping them out of our “own” backyard. Recently we’ve also seen the announcement that the government is considering selling off the Student Loans Company – something that will affect us all.
As such, Bristol Students and Staff Against Privatisation would like to propose a national meeting regarding the state and future of anti-privatisation struggles. In this meeting, we would hope to:
- Share experiences of privatisation and ideas for responses to them to our mutual benefit
- Identify the points our groups have in common, and where we might differ, so that we can find the most appropriate ways to work together
- Consider opportunities and ideas for collective action
We suggest that the meeting be held online, so that people are able to attend regardless of distance or the cost of transport. This also removes the difficulty of finding an appropriately large venue, food, etc! Proposals and agenda points would be submitted in advance, so that discussion could be facilitated to fit the time we have, and so that
people get a chance to discuss and think about them before the meeting.
We suggest the meeting take place on Sunday 30th of June, with proposed agenda points submitted by Wednesday 26th to uob_against_privatisation[at]riseup.net . We suggest that we use the chatroom and processes for online meetings used by the International Students Movement: https://ismuk.wordpress.com/resources-2/organising/guide-to-ism-uk-online-meetings/
Please contact the email address above with any questions.
This meeting will be open to all students and staff at universities, colleges, and schools in the UK. We will try to make it a safe and inclusive space free from sexism, racism, individuals dominating the meeting, etc.