By Palatinate News Team
A protest organised by Durham Student’s for University Reform (DSUR) took place outside the Bill Bryson Library this afternoon.
DSUR are demanding a two-year freeze of accommodation fees, greater transparency from the University and reform of the University’s governing structures so that students are involved in the setting of accommodation fees.
Protesters have now dispersed as the Day of Action comes to an end.
Numbers are dwindling now as chants of “shove your fee increase up your arse” rise from the crowd.
People are lining the path between the Calman Centre and the Library attempting to rally students moving between lectures.
Addressing the crowd outside the Bill Bryson Library, William Pinkney-Baird, who unsuccessfully ran for Durham SU Activities Officer earlier this month said:
“The new Vice-Chancellor will need to listen to our demands.
“If they don’t, they will get more than they bargained for.”
The protest is heading back towards the Bill Bryson Library.
Protesters are now congregating outside the back entrance of the Palatine Centre and can be heard chanting “student homes, not bankers’ loans”.
The protesters can now be heard chanting “freeze our fees” as they march through the ground floor of the Palatine Centre.
Around 70 protesters are now heading towards the Palatine Centre. Chants of “I’m fucking freezing so why aren’t my fees?” can be heard.
Speaking to Palatinate, Dan Slavin said:
“We agree with the cause, this is something that we’ve wanted to support through the Union.
“We’ve always welcomed DSUR to the Union and have always tried to help them get their message across.
“As a Union we would like to help DSUR to communicate their message to the student body and welcome open communication.”
SU President Dan Slavin has just addressed the protest. He said:
“I’m pleased to see so many people here today. This shows that Durham students aren’t apathetic.
It is important that students can show that they feel annoyed at the university and I hope that this brings about change.”
Sofia Hewson, co-chair of Durham Students for University Reform said:
“We’re willing to continue protests for as long as it takes to get the uni to freeze accommodation fees.
“We hope the uni will listen, it’s obviously important that students have the right to protest like this.
“We want to show that Durham students aren’t apathetic.”
The protest is slowly increasing in size accompanied by chants of “freeze the fucking fees” and “we say ‘freeze the fees’ they say ‘raise the fees”.
Outgoing SU President Dan Slavin is in attendance.
Harry Cross, the chair of DSUR, told Palatinate on Sunday: “By organising the largest student protest at Durham in years we aim to leave no doubt as to the strength of student opinion on this issue.
“College accommodation fees in Durham have risen over 20% in recent years with a knock-on effect on the level of rent charged by landlords in the city, impacting both students and resident”.
Stick with Palatinate for live updates as the protest unfolds.
Photograph: Emma Werner and Venus Loi