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Video: Protest at Queen's University Belfast turns sour as senior staff member tries to climb over students

By Angela Rainey

Published 13/04/2016

A peaceful protest at Queen’s University turned sour after a senior member of staff attempted to climb over the student demonstrators.

Around 40 students gathered to voice their concerns that Single Honour sociology and anthropology degrees could be removed, and a merger take place between the schools in the Arts and Humanities Faculty.

Demonstrators say that as stakeholders of the university and members of the Students’ Union, they should have been consulted and are also calling for a halt to what they term as the “marketisation” of the university.

Students of all ages sat on the stairs of the Lanyon Building as a peaceful obstruction to Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Medicine, Health and Life Sciences, Christopher Elliott and others attending the Senate’s Size and Shape Review’

Things turned sour after the Pro-Vice-Chancellor, who was being held by the arm by security staff trying to assist him ascend the stairs, stepped over the students to get out.

A video of Mr Elliot attempting to leave has been shared more than 10,000 on Facebook with mixed reactions.

A spokesman for the Students’ Union at Queens said: “Queen’s Students’ Union recently discovered that Queen’s University has introduced cuts to its budget of almost twice the amount required by Stormont.

“This has led to job losses and course closures/mergers that are damaging and unnecessary.

“Today the union stood in solidarity with Queen’s staff protesting against the continued marketisation of the university.

“We believe that important decisions regarding the future direction of higher education at Queen’s should be driven by students and their needs, not by corporate agendas.

“We are also very concerned about the lack of meaningful and formal student consultation by the university on its future direction.

“Today, Queen’s Students’ Union conducted a sit-in at the Lanyon building along with Queen’s staff in the hope that student concerns would finally be recognised.

“This was an attempt to demonstrate to the University’s governing body the significant dissatisfaction on campus regarding these changes.

“We will continue to represent our current and future students to ensure that third level education is publicly funded and adequately supported in Northern Ireland.”

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