As the first wave of walkouts began, Jeremy Corbyn sent his "solidarity and thanks" to those striking and said his party was "deeply concerned" about proposed changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), as he urged employers to commit to negotiations.
More than 1 million students are expected to be affected by lost classes.
Asked who is most to blame for the pensions dispute, half (50%) of those polled agreed it is the university employers, with 2% saying it is university staff and a fifth (20%) saying both parties are equally to blame.
University strikes turned violent as protesters stormed an academic building to demand that students in the lecture theatre join the walk out. Several hundred students engaged in chants led by CUSU President Daisy Eyre, including, "They say marketise, we say organise", and, "Students and workers, unite and fight".
Lecturers who are members of the University and College Union (UCU) in the UK are planning to make the next month very hard for their universities' representatives - Universities UK (UUK) - through a series of strikes that aim to give a single voice to hundreds over what they deem a threat to their futures.
Cheeseman, who edits the university's magazine the Orbital, said that if lecturers aren't satisfied with how much they're paid, "you can't have a quality education and you're not going to keep getting quality academics in the system". A total of 519 staff were eligible to vote.
Some CSP members may be directly involved in the action because they have a joint membership with the UCU. These hardline proposals would slash staff pensions and are simply uncalled for.
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At Royal Holloway, where student magazine the Orbital has reported heavily on the issue, 77% of students supported teachers on the day of the strikes, according to a poll conducted by the university's students' union.
"Professor Forster's intervention is welcome and more vice-chancellors should be speaking out to try and resolve this dispute".
Ellie Ferguson, 22, a final year worldwide relations student backing industrial action, said that protesters jammed open the lecture theatre door with a chair to ensure their point was heard inside."There was about 250-300 of us and we were chanting "leave your lectures", she said.
Action is due to continue with a separate meeting, organised by the Universities College Union, in Great St Mary's at 2pm today.
Scott Seton, 22, of Newmarket, a first-year philosophy undergraduate student at the University of Essex, who supports the strike action. "It is important now that UCU engages on how best to ensure the long-term sustainability of the scheme".
Universities UK has pointed out that the cost of funding future pensions has risen by one third in the last three years, and the USS has a deficit of £6.1bn, which by law must be reduced.
The changes, which were proposed by Universities UK, the group that represents universities employees, are created to tackle a £6.1 billion deficit in the Universities Superannuation Scheme, one of the largest private pension schemes in the UK. "That strike makes sense as it inconveniences the people that are paying them".