On Friday 11th March, I went down to Bramber House to watch a gathering of approximately 200 other students protesting against the Home Office’s decision to deport former Sussex student Luqman Onikosi back to Nigeria, his home country.
While I’m personally in full support of Luqman and the attempt to repeal the decision, I can’t help but question the method and indeed the motives of those students who were recently occupying Bramber House
In itself the occupation and the demands made upon the university by the protestors are ludicrous, but most importantly counter-productive. The mere suggestion that the University has some sort of power over the Home Office is nonsense.
Even if it were to issue a statement in support of Luqman, what evidence is there to say that the Home Office would listen?
It seems to me that perhaps instead of directing their anguish towards the University, the occupiers should be turning their attention to more productive methods of protest.
It comes across that the occupation itself isn’t solely about the rights of Luqman to remain in the UK, but is in fact part of a larger agenda which is opposed to the University’s management, the privatisation of education and tuition fees.
While I stand in agreement that free education is something that we as students should be fighting for, I think this rather detracts from the imperative issue at hand.
The occupation of Bramber House, far from being inconvenient to students who have classes in the building, or to those who work in the Co-Op or Eat Central, comes across as some kind of nostalgic trip to the occupation of the same building in 2013.
I’m not sure if it’s entirely fair to suggest that these students are only occupying out of some kind of hobby, but I certainly think we should be questioning their motives, and helping Luqman fight his case in more fruitful and less obstructive ways.
Instead of the occupation of Bramber house, I urge you all to contact your MP (yes both the one at home and our very own Caroline Lucas), sign the widely circulated petition and contribute to the page dedicated to helping Luqman receive funding for his legal case.
And to satisfy those craving for protest, how about we demonstrate outside the Home Office, Westminster, or Theresa May’s constituency office?