Huge protests at Auckland University over library closures

Protesters have taken over Symonds St.
Protesters have taken over Symonds St. Photo credit: Newshub.

Protesters have blocked off Symonds Street as they call for Auckland University's Vice-Chancellor to resign.

The street is blocked from Waterloo Quadrant to Wellesley St. Police are at either end diverting traffic.

Auckland Transport says all buses that use Symonds St are still running but will detour to avoid the affected section. There are at least 12 buses within the cordoned-off area which will remain until the rally is over.

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.

Huge protests at Auckland University over library closures
Photo credit: Newshub.

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.

The information sheets distributed before the protest.
The information sheets distributed before the protest. Photo credit: Supplied

"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."

Huge protests at Auckland University over library closures
Photo credit: Newshub.
Huge protests at Auckland University over library closures
Photo credit: Newshub.

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.

Newshub.

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