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Huge protests at Auckland University over library closures

Newshub logoNewshub 17/05/2018 Sophie Bateman

a group of people crossing a street © Provided by MediaWorks NZ Limited Protesters have blocked off Symonds Street as they call for Auckland University's Vice-Chancellor to resign.

Buses have had to alter their routes as the rally has taken over the entire Symonds Street - Alfred Street intersection. There is a significant police presence at the protest.

The protest was organised by community group A New University, which is demanding greater democratic control over the tertiary institution as well as the resignation of Vice-Chancellor Stuart McCutcheon.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd © Provided by MediaWorks NZ Limited Information sheets distributed before the rally said that the university's restructuring would lead to job losses, reduced services and the destruction of learning spaces.

"McCutcheon has repeatedly demonstrated his contempt for staff and students' involvement in the allocation of funding and resources and decision making in the university," the sheets read.

a close up of text on a white background © Provided by MediaWorks NZ Limited "For this reason, we demand his immediate resignation."

In the wake of Thursday's Budget, A New University called on the Government to increase funding for universities as well as other sectors.

"The Labour Government's commitment to the budget responsibility rules limits the funding available for public services. Students call for the Government to scrap this financial chokehold and fund education, housing and welfare."

a group of people crossing a city street © Provided by MediaWorks NZ Limited Student Ollin Raynaud told Newshub that protesters were demanding the right to be consulted about funding and decisions that will impact on their academic futures.

"There has been no significant student consultation when deciding to close the Fine Arts library, which will have a significant impact in a wide range of faculties."

In April students protested the potential closure of several of the University's specialist spaces, and staged a sit-in at the Fine Arts library.

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