Student support for university lecturers staging walkouts over pay appears to be split, according to those who spoke to BuzzFeed News.
Peter Patrick, vice-president of University of Essex UCU, said: "It's encouraging that our own vice-chancellor shares common ground with staff opposing these devastating proposals".
Protesters were also seen entering the Universities UK building in London and putting up banners in the reception area, with some branding it an "occupation" on social media.
Speaking on the strike action, a University of Surrey spokesperson said: "The University pays 18% of salaries into the USS pension, and we are prepared to continue making payments at this level".
Peter Patrick, vice-president of the University of Essex branch of the University and College Union (UCU).
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UCU members are angry at plans to end the defined benefit element of pensions, which the union says would leave a typical lecturer 10,000 pounds a year worse off.
More than 14,000 students at the university could be affected.
Sam Gyimah, the government minister responsible for universities, called on both sides in the dispute to return to talks.
UCU regional official Lydia Richards said: "Nobody wants to take strike action, but staff feel they have no choice". Banners reading "Support our Staff" and 'Strike to Win!' were displayed outside the faculty building along with smoke sparklers created to attract attention.
An online YouGov poll, conducted on the eve of the strikes, shows that just two per cent of students think university staff are most to blame for the dispute, with half pointing the finger at the university employers.
"This industrial action is targeted at students".
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Amber Larke, who commutes from Ipswich, said: "As we don't know if our lecturers or GTAs are going to turn up until we get there, I'm going to be driving an hour or more, wasting petrol, to have to turn around and go home again".
A spokesman said: "UUK remains at the negotiating table, but so far UCU has refused to engage on how best to address the funding challenges facing USS".
The union said there were "a number of misleading claims" about the planned changes to the pension scheme, which had been "affected by hard economic conditions".
Universities UK (UUK) has insisted that the scheme - which hundreds of thousands of university workers are enrolled on - needs to change due to a deficit of more than £6bn and the rising cost of future pensions.
"If this round of strikes fails, there is a possibility of further strike action which could affect our exams later on in the year, it could affect marking, and, ultimately, whether we can graduate or not".
McCrystall said that he hoped the opposing groups would find a way to negotiation and that a solution would be found.
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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.