Around 40-60 students have occupied a conference centre and top floor of a University of Sussex building as “a last recourse” to prevent the privatisation of campus services.
The occupation follows a demonstration on Thursday when 300 staff and students marched through campus to oppose the outsourcing of catering and estate management services at Sussex.
At the end of the protest, a group of 40 students occupied part of Bramber House, where an external event was taking place.
A further 20 students joined the occupation over night, according to a Sussex Against Privatisation spokesperson, despite the presence of university and private security staff.
The university provoked anger when it announced in May that it was to sell off some campus services, meaning 235 workers will be transferred to private companies from August 2013.
Since then it has held meetings with trade unions, staff and students but pressed ahead with the bidding process to find a private partner. Sussex Against Privatisation says the opposition to outsourcing services is strong and that its actions are a “last recourse… in order to ensure that student and staff voices are heard”.
“We had a large rally yesterday and a solidarity demo this afternoon. But these events aren’t just a one-off, there’ve been boycotts and petitions held throughout the year in opposition to the university’s plans.
“While privatisation will have an impact on students’ lives in terms of the quality of services, our first concern is the impact this will have on staff – it’s their job security that will be put at risk.”