UCU issues statement on student protests

10 December 2013 | last updated: 10 December 2015

UCU strongly supports the right of students to protest against the privatisation of higher education, higher fees and the sale of the student loan book to fund future places.

As our sister organisation the National Union of Students has said this week, 'peaceful protest and occupation are legitimate tactics, enshrined in our right to protest.' UCU also welcomes the support of students and their unions for our current industrial action which is aimed at securing a fair pay offer.

To that end, we endorse the Early Day Motion put down by John McDonnell MP which calls upon university authorities to respond positively to requests by protesting students and staff for 'meaningful dialogue' rather than adopt heavy handed responses. We also fully endorse Mr McDonnell's view that, 'universities should recognise that students have a right to protest as long as it is peaceful'.

Finally, as the representative of university staff most often directly caught up in student occupations and other actions we urge protesters to ensure that staff at work during protests are safe and are not unwittingly made to feel intimidated and university authorities not to use such staff as pawns in a wider game. 

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