Socialist Worker

Hundreds pack into meetings on campus

Issue No. 1791

Two hundred medical students turned up to a meeting last week to hear George Galloway MP speak out over the war drive against Iraq. It was the first political meeting for years on a site of University College London where medical students at Guy's Hospital, south London, have lectures.

Vicky Potter, a student at the college, explained, 'The students got the confidence to organise after a recent stop the war meeting was held at Guy's with Wendy Savage GP.'

Students from Amnesty International, the Arabic Society, the Pakistani Society and Mediconcern Society came together to organise the meeting on Iraq. Vicky said there was real enthusiasm for the Stop the War Coalition: 'Everyone wanted to exchange emails and get involved in building anti-war protests. 'George Galloway backed me up when I encouraged everyone to join the coalition. 'People really want to work together and discuss all the issues.'

ACROSS SCOTLAND meetings were held last week that attracted hundreds of students. Some 150 students piled into a Globalise Resistance meeting in Glasgow to hear two activists from Colombia.

A further 70 people attended the meeting in Edinburgh. The speakers were Berenice Celeyta, director of a trade union human rights campaign involved in the successful occupation in Cali, and Hector Vaca, who is a national committee member of the oil and gas workers' union. They spoke about their struggle against neo-liberalism and repression in Colombia.

Plans to sell off halls of residence in Glasgow attracted 150 students to a street party protest on Wednesday of last week. The students were due to meet on Tuesday of this week to discuss occupying the halls to prevent the privatisation.

Over 500 students at Edinburgh University voted to support an ethical arms policy by 500 votes to seven at a union meeting last week. A further 200 students came to a meeting on supporting rights for Palestinians.

SOME 68 percent of students at Exeter University voted to demand the resignation of the chancellor in a cross-campus ballot. They are furious that the university's chancellor, Lord Weedon, is an executive director for the TotalElfFina oil company.

This multinational is notorious for giving money to the dictatorship that rules Burma. The regime has shut down Burmese universities. Activists won a motion at a student guild meeting to call on the chancellor to resign from the university or the oil company.

They were then told they had to take the issue to a campus-wide referendum. This did not put the students off. They campaigned hard to win the successful vote, with 2,200 students voting. Some 50 students held a lobby last week, chanting 'Teach students-don't torture them'.

Exeter student Pete Harrison said, 'Weedon was made a lord for helping Thatcher to beat the unions at GCHQ, so we are striking a blow for workers too.'

SOME 200 students occupied the library at Durham University last Wednesday in protest at the possible closure of ten academic departments. The occupation only ended after senior management agreed to meet student representatives.

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Sat 16 Mar 2002, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1791
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