Oxford University Student Union - Protests and Occupations - Protests and Occupations 1990s To Date

Protests and Occupations 1990s To Date

Several student groups participated in protests against the introduction of tuition fees from 1998 onwards, with Oxford students playing a major role in the nationwide Campaign for Free Education. Activities included non-payment campaigns, the occupation of Exam Schools in 1998 and of the Development Office in November 1999, several marches and a short-lived blockade of the University Offices. OUSU support for these protests was limited in 1998, but became more formal during the presidency of Anneliese Dodds (1999). Following another occupation of Exam Schools in January 2004, the university pursued disciplinary action against five OUSU sabbatical officers.

In 2001 and 2007, OUSU led protests against speakers at the Oxford Union. In 2001, Kirsty McNeill led a successful protest to stop the visit of Holocaust denier David Irving to the debating society. In 2007, the Oxford Union attracted condemnation again for inviting Irving and BNP leader Nick Griffin to speak at a "free speech forum". The then OUSU President, Martin McCluskey, led a campaign against the visits which attracted attention and support from national anti-fascist organisations, politicians and media commentators.

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