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A NEW WAVE OF STUDENT ACTIVISM WORDS John Bennet PHOTOGRAPHY John
‘...the biggest wave of student protests in a generation...’
any of our new students coming to Glasgow Caledonian do so in the wake of the biggest wave of student protests in a generation and many will want to get involved in events like these themselves. It is often natural that students be involved in activism as students are not tied down with families, mortgages and the rest and as a result are freer to lead way in fighting for social justice. There is also just a simple fact that when these talented young people begin engaging with their education a better understanding of how the world works reveals a need to change it for the better. Often written-off as the naive optimism of youth by cynics, it is worth-while remembering that it was students who highlighted the links with garments industry and sweatshop shaming the big brands into observing human rights laws. The student protests over the government cuts to higher education and the raising of tuition fees to £9000 saw mass demonstrations but also 100’s
of student occupations of university buildings up and down the country. The longest and arguably the most creative of these was actually here in Glasgow and one which many students from Glasgow Caledonian took part. On February 1st around 50 student activists, including many from Glasgow Caledonian gained entry and occupied the former Hetherington Research Club, a social club for post-grads and mature students which had closed and been ear-marked for renovation into offices. Quickly re-named “The Free Hetherington”, the occupied space set out to transcend the traditional disruption until demands were met. Freedom of access was quickly, if reluctantly, agreed by university management and the activists organised themselves into kitchen, first-aid, security, media and events teams. The aim was to for as long as possible use the space as a venue for lectures, work-shops, creative events and as a hub of anti-cuts activity across Glasgow. The ethos was
Published on Oct 9, 2011
The Edit Issue 1 >> October 2011 Glasgow Caledonian University Students' Association Student Magazine. Written/Designed/Photographed by Cal...