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More Student Protests at the University of Auckland

Media Release – 18 July 2012 – For Immediate Use

More Student Protests at the University of Auckland

University of Auckland Students have staged a demonstration outside Vice-Chancellor Stuart McCutcheon's office earlier today for what they are calling a 'dismissive and ignorant attitude' towards students protesting against the National Government's recent budget.

Two businessmen with clown faces chased 43 students around Princes Street, with the number representing the amount of arrests made on Symonds Street at a Blockade the Budget protest on June 1st. The students turned on the clowns and made them deliver a super-sized 'Open Letter to the VC' to McCutcheon's door. The letter called for a response from the Vice-Chancellor regarding the arrests and what protesters say were 'heavy-handed police tactics' on campus six weeks ago.

Earlier in the week The University of Auckland student magazine, Craccum published a letter from McCutcheon, which the Blockade the Budget group says contains inaccurate information. The letter states "protestors engaged in dangerous behaviour including 'attempting to set materials on fire, maliciously setting off fire alarms, and climbing on to the roof of Old Choral Hall". None of which occurred on June 1st.

Post-graduate student Rosa Jennings was quoted as saying 'We question the VC's ability to manage our University when he is unable to get simple facts right about a widely publicized student-led protest'

Blockade the Budget supporter and Craccum writer Sean Phillips added 'The head of our University likes to feign an interest in the welfare of students, but this just shows what little regard he has for us in reality. You would think that a university with a strategic plan focused on graduate students might be concerned about how those students can afford to live next year. Regardless of where you stand on the protests, any decent person in his position would want to make sure the young people involved were okay, but not McCutcheon'

The Blockade the Budget group will take to the streets again, 1pm this Saturday at Britomart for a rally called 'Show & Tell'. The event will draw organisations and individuals together from across to education sector to protest against multiple issues including the budget cuts for tertiary education, school league tables, cuts to early childhood education and performance based pay for teachers.


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