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We are under siege, say student protestors
Up to 40 activists are holed up in a university building in protest against the privatisation of campus jobs.
The students stormed the University of Sussex’s Bramber House on Thursday afternoon and took con trol of the top floor conference centre.
Between 30 and 40 protestors spent their second night in the building last night with campus security guarding all entrances and exits.
Members of the group have issued a set of demands to university bosses and are refusing to come down until they are met.
Speaking yesterday, Adriano Merola, 22, said: “We feel very strongly about this and want to make sure our voices are heard.
“Security staff have stopped us bringing in food and drink and they’ve turned the heating off. It’s like we’re under siege.”
The university said today the students were not under siege and entirely free to leave any time they wish.
It says they are also being given access to food, water and toilets while they remain.
The university also says the heating has not been switched off but is on an automatic timer and does not run overnight since nobody sleeps or lives in the building.
The student action is in response to the university’s decision to privatise its catering and facility management services.
University registrar John Duffy said: “This is a long-term strategic development to ensure that we can enhance and develop the high-quality services we provide to our students and staff as we grow, with stuent numbers increasing from fewer than 11,000 in 2008 to a projected 18,000 by 2018.”
A spokeswoman added that 235 university staff affected would all be transferred with no job losses planned.
Protestors argue the university is simply passing services to the highest bidder.
They claim the move will not only see a vast amount of money passing from the public to private sector, but also have a negative impact on employees and students.
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