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Support grows for University of Sussex protest
Hundreds of posters have appeared across campus windows in a show of support for a university protest.
With students preparing to mark the occupation’s two week anniversary tomorrow (February 21), controversial comedian Frankie Boyle has become the latest well known figure to have announced support for the campaign.
The activists, who have taken over the top floor of the University of Sussex’s Bramber Building, are protesting against the privatisation of campus catering and facility management jobs.
A spokesman for the protesters said: “I think they’re starting to realise they might be in trouble. There is so much support from both on and off campus.”
University bosses announced last year that 235 campus jobs would be offered out to the highest external bidder.
They say they have fully consulted workers, unions and students – a claim the protesters dispute.
A mass rally was held on February 7 after which a small group of students stormed the university’s main administration building.
They were joined by a further 100 to 200 activists following another protest on February 21.
Yellow ribbons and posters can be seen in hundreds of university windows, and have become synonymous with the protest.
A student spokesman said: “It’s not just students who have been putting them up as the university would like to think. It is also the campus and teaching staff.”
The protest has received messages of support from across the globe, including the backing of many famous faces.
Along with Frankie Boyle, social commentator Noam Chomksy, director Ken Loach, BAFTA-winning actor Peter Capaldi and author Will Self are among hundreds who have sent their support.
In a letter to senior members of staff last week, Michael Farthing said if the protest continued money would be taken from the student union, teaching and research budgets.
Students dismissed the letter as a “pathetic attempt to impede their right to protest” adding they were trying to “cause division”.
They also claimed university bosses are trying to intimidate them by using a police dog to patrol the campus.
A university spokeswoman said dogs were used on campus as part of “routine duties” and were “categorically not” brought in to manage the occupation.
She added: “Around 2,200 staff work on our campus and around 4,000 students live in campus residences, most of whom will from time to time display all sorts of posters, pictures and campaigning materials.
“There are no plans to ask staff or students to remove displays from their offices or residences.”
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