Students occupy University Vice Chancellor’s Office

Published: Mon 20 Oct 2014 10:32 AM
Students occupy University of Auckland Vice Chancellor’s Office
A group of students have chained themselves inside the University of Auckland Vice Chancellor’s office. Another group are occupying the building’s roof.
The protest comes in advance of the University’s fee-setting meeting, where fees are expected to be raised by 4%.
The students began the occupation at 9am, and are going to be joined by a rally at 1pm. They intend to stay until the fee-setting meeting at 4pm.
“We are here because the university continues to chain us to debt by raising fees every year,” says Mikaela Hunt.
“The fee-setting meeting has traditionally been open to the public but has moved off-campus due to recent student protests.”
“Because we’re locked out of the meeting, we’ve locked ourselves in his office,” Hunt says.
Students are also concerned about recent comments by the University’s Vice Chancellor, Stuart McCutcheon.
“McCutcheon has stated that he wants the government to remove the cap on fee increases, which would create an avalanche of student debt” says Mikaela Hunt.
The meeting is also where the Vice Chancellor’s salary is raised. Hunt says it unacceptable that McCutcheon is the highest paid public official in New Zealand, earning at least $640,000 per year.
Law student, Jamie Davies, says she’s worried about leaving university with nearly $40,000 of debt.
She says, “Around the world students are organising against fees. German students have recently forced their government to abolish fees.”
“Stuart McCutcheon’s generation benefited from fully-funded, fee-free education. My generation has decades of student loans to repay.”
Students are chanting, “Sack Stuart”, “They got it free, why shouldn’t we,” “Stuart McCutcheon, what’s your function?” “F**k the fees”.

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