BREAKING: Lancaster students barricade Charles Carter in support of UCU strikes

The building has been completely barricaded by over a dozen students

Over a dozen Lancaster University students have occupied the Charles Carter building.

The building, which has four floors and is used as Management School offices and seminar rooms, was occupied and completely barricaded last night.

The occupiers are demanding that “University Management actively support the UCU demands, cuts ties with all arms companies, and agrees to not take disciplinary action against any of the occupiers.”

Demilitarise Lancaster are claiming responsibility for the action. They also organised the occupation of Margaret Fell in Michaelmas Term. This action follows similar occupations at the Universities of Warwick, Manchester, Sheffield, and London School of Economics.

A student part of the occupation said, “Lancaster University has failed to support staff and students throughout the cost of living crisis. Staff are working under immense pressure, working long hours and, for some, in unstable short-term contracts. At the same time, students report drastically worsening mental health, and some are even being forced to work long hours to afford to stay in education. We have been forced to take this disruptive direct action, to show University Management that enough is enough, and that we will no longer accept being treated as a business opportunity.”

Another student told us that this morning, all electricity in the building was turned off, with three hours notice given until the emergency lighting was turned off as well.

The occupiers say that they currently have no plans to leave. They are inviting fellow students to support the UCU strikes and engage with the campaign, and are asking University Management to meet with them.

A Lancaster University spokesperson said, “We fully support the right to free speech on campus and our University has an open and transparent working culture where groups and individuals are free to express their views. We remain open to debate and dialogue and students have representation in the University’s governance structures through the Students Union.

“As part of our commitment to engagement, our graduates’ employment, and to our regional economy, the University works with an increasingly diverse range of partners and businesses. Our work with BAE Systems underpins a range of activities, including research into sustainable technologies, and deepens our engagement with regional business, enhancing business growth and opportunity. We also support our academics’ freedom to identify and associate with legitimate organisations as part of their research activity and for our students to make their own informed choices about where they work.

“The University has processes to enable peaceful protests but will prioritise safety and the rights of students and staff to go about their normal business on campus without restriction.”

Photos via Demilitarise Lancaster. 

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