UTS students protest


UTS students protest

By Carolyn Minchin

SYDNEY — About 300 students at Sydney's University of Technology stormed and occupied the vice-chancellor's office on September 9 to protest against the allocation of $2 million of university funds for a vice-chancellor's residence.

Students argue that the money would be better spent on improving the university's overcrowded facilities, paying the debts of underfunded faculties and providing badly needed student accommodation.

The physics and humanities faculties have a combined debt of $750,000, and both face severe cutbacks in classes next year. Faculties such as business and law have chosen to stay afloat by seeking private sources of funding, which students argue will limit academic independence.

Several classes were held in the administration foyer during the afternoon, and about 50 students continued the occupation overnight, moving in sleeping bags to highlight the need for student accommodation. The protest combined '60s optimism and '90s technology, with students singing protest songs while student president Ben Oquist got the message to the media via radio telephone.

"While students continue to sit in lecture room aisles, are denied essential study materials and told there is no money left for student accommodation, the university is going to spend $2 million to house one person — it's an outrage", said Oquist.