Protests at LCC widen
Demonstrations over the staff and budget cuts at the London College of Communication have widened.
What started as a two person sit-in over staff and budget cuts, has become an ongoing protest, which at its height saw approximately 70 students occupying the main lecture theatre of London College of Communications.
The occupation, which began on the evening of November 9, is being organised by LCC alumnus Joana Pinto and Louis Hartnoll, a third year BA Creative Advertising student from LCC, who was instrumental in last years Gaza occupation in the Podium lecture theatre.
In defence of the current occupation Pinto says: “When it comes to the management, it's to get them to respond and not to ignore us.”
The sit-in comes following a meeting involving Pinto of the Oppose group, Ron Todd of the University and College Union, and approximately 30 students held on November 9.
Pinto and Hartnoll remained in the main lecture theatre sending messages out to members of the Oppose group using Facebook and Twitter on the university computer in the lecture theatre stating: “Join us in the Main lecture theatre either for a few hours or overnight."
The couple where approached by Les Claridge, an associate dean of the Faculty of Design, who acknowledged the occupation but informed Pinto that as she was not a student at the university she would be removed from the building.
Julian Rodriguez, the dean of the Faculty of Media stated: “There is insurance that goes along with being on university premises which is connected with being an enrolled student, she will not be insured for it I would not think.”
Additional security was called in to the university. The security staff who asked not to be named said, “We do not work for the university but were called in to cover this event…we were here last week up in the staff room but we were not needed”.
When questioned about the security presence Claridge said: “We had no security cover this evening, if we had a large group of students we need to ensure the building safety”.
Despite only two people occupying the space Hartnoll was hopeful: “ If it lasts a night, 5 days a month it will hopefully spur debate and get people mobilsed”, Pinto continued: “People are waiting for something to join in”.
The police arrived at 10pm and after a discussion with Claridge they left the building, the associate dean then told the protesters: “We had the police arrive, I have asked them not to remove you, you’re a small number your not doing any harm”.
However, he issued a warning to Pinto: “When you have finished your occupation we will ensure as best as we can you are not allowed on the premises. We take the position that there are two of you and to remove you seems a little crazy”.
However the protest grew on November 10, as dozens of other students joined the occupation in the lecture theatre and remained whilst scheduled lectures continued.
By the evening, demonstrators were still in the main lecture theatre with Pinto and Hartnoll preparing to spend a second night there, and have not said how long they will stay.