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Auckland Students "We'll Be Back (Tomorrow)"

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RALLY 12.30 QUAD TOMORROW (THURSDAY 30TH MARCH) UNI QUAD, PRINCES ST

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29th March 2000

Media Statement

AUCKLAND STUDENTS: WE'LL BE BACK (TOMORROW)

University of Auckland students rallied today in protest against User-pays education, and in solidarity with students around the country who have been protesting this week. Several hundred Auckland students, including a contingent from the Manukau Institute of Technology and AUT, marched on the University of Auckland Registry and staged a picket outside, as well as several lightening occupations on University administration buildings. This followed a rally which featured Laila Harré, Minister of Youth Affairs, speaking, and the burning of effigies of Christine Rankin (CEO of WINZ) and Dr John Hood (Vice Chancellor of the University and former member of the Business Roundtable).

"Student support today grew throughout our protest, giving strong indications that the feeling is high," said Megan Hall, spokesperson for Fightback, the student activist group who organised the protest. "The drive to reclaim the campus, for students and for the community, is gaining impetus, and we intend to be back tomorrow, bigger and stronger."

"We are part of a nationwide movement for Free Education, joining students in Canterbury, Massey and Otago in rallying against User-pays," said Hall. "We hope to join Victoria and Waikato in occupying, to oppose the money centred approach of this and past Governments, tomorrow."

Another rally has been called for 12.30pm tomorrow (Thursday 30th March) in the University Quad, Princes St.

"This campaign will continue throughout the year - the Labour-led Government must be kept honest, and we will not let them forget the importance of free access to tertiary education, not only for current students, but for the whole of society," said Hall.

Contacts: Megan Hall/Julie Fairey (021) 216-7868 or (09) 623-2676 Brian Blake (021) 253-8793

Fightback is a group of students engaged in activism around Free Education. The University of Auckland Fightback group is linked with the Fightback group at the University of Waikato, the Education Action Group at Victoria University, the E is for Activists group at Canterbury University, as well as student groups at Massey University and Otago University. The agreed demands of these groups are:

Free education for all

Universal student allowances

Reinstatement of the Emergency Unemployment Benefit

Democratic control of universities including student representation at

managerial level

Dumping of student debt

An end to privatisation, managerialism and competition in education

Adequate government funding to tertiary providers

Adequate research funding not controlled by corporate interests

Removal of all non-financial barriers to education

No cops on campus

No more staff cuts


ENDS

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