Students took action on Thursday of last week as part of a week of action called by the National Union of Students against top-up fees and student hardship.
Over 100 students occupied the admin building of Manchester University on Thursday of last week after a rally against fees. We were protesting against the threatened expulsion of a student who cannot pay his fees on time due to an administrative delay. We demanded the threatened student was given until 31 March to pay his tuition fees and allowed to officially attend lectures.
Belle McMahon, a second year French student, said, 'Students who pay their fees late receive intimidating and threatening letters from the university. These are worse than the letters you get from the credit card companies. The university makes a profit out of student hardship and runs the university like a bank.'
The vice-chancellor was forced to cancel all of his Tuesday meetings to meet the student threatened with expulsion and a delegation of occupying students. We ended the occupation on Friday afternoon and marched through campus.
Students from Leeds University and Leeds Metropolitan University occupied a local BBC radio station on the national day of action last week. We built support for the protest by walking into lectures and asking people if they wanted to take direct action against fees.
Loads of students left their classes to join us. Many lecturers whose classes were interrupted said they supported us. About 150 of us blockaded the road before we occupied the radio studio and were interviewed live. There is now a really fantastic mood on campus.
Students at Camberwell College of Arts staged a giant 'bed-in' on NUS national shutdown day. Fifty students and several tutors took part in the protest. First year sculpture student Oscar Macfall said, 'People are no better off under Blair. I'm in debt because I want an education, and have to work part time for £3.70 an hour to support myself.'
We occupied the admin block at Lancaster University on the day of action last week. We got support from the AUT and MSF unions, as well as ordinary students who stayed away from lectures and joined protests.
About 150 people came to a lunchtime rally-the biggest protest on our campus in years. Over 60 of us occupied the corridor leading to the vice-chancellors' office for three hours. The mood was summed up by one student who said, 'I am fed up with moaning and complaining, and doing nothing. It is about time we start standing up and fighting back'.
We formed a 20-strong picket outside Ruskin College, Oxford, on the day of action last week. All lectures had to be cancelled, and canteen staff provided free tea, coffee and soup.