Statement following this occupation

Posted: November 25, 2010 in Uncategorized

This morning, the remaining students occupying the ACCR made a collective decision to leave the lecture theatre.

We stayed overnight, despite being denied free and complete access to toilets since the beginning of the occupation, and with heavy security continuing to block access to the room. Despite our desire for lectures to go ahead as usual, the University had rescheduled all lectures.
We decided to end this occupation; not because students didn’t want to join us or because we didn’t want to stay, but because it had become physically impossible for us to create the space of free education that we had envisioned. We know that many students and lecturers tried to join us but were blocked from doing so by the University authorities and police. We want to create a space on campus for free and democratic education, for people not for profit. We have not been able to do that in this room.
We see this occupation as a great success: the amount of solidarity and support from students, staff, lecturers and others at Warwick and beyond has been incredible, and the considerable media coverage has successfully carried our message.

We therefore leave here on our own terms, with the knowledge that this is just the beginning. We see a real momentum building and our demands to the Vice Chancellor and University authorities are still outstanding.
We are having an open meeting tonight at 5pm in the Students Union to reflect on the actions of the past 24 hours and discuss the next step in our movement. Everyone is welcome to come and participate.

  1. Postgrad says:

    Great statement guys. Ignore the misinformed self interested neoliberal critics. Standing up for what you believe in and in solidarity with 135,000 others around the country in defense of a better society than the ConDems want to allow, is an amazing thing to do.

  2. UnionInsider says:

    Sad to see you go, but the reasons are totally valid.
    You should all be very proud of the last 24 hours – lets hope the demands are met one day soon.

  3. Congratulations everyone! As you say, this is just the beginning!

    These education cuts must be fought every step of the way!

  4. Serafini says:

    Congratulations guys!! This has been a wonderful experience; Warwick is proud of all of you!

    @Nigel Thrift, what happened to your Marxist origins!?

  5. Kate Arnold says:

    My pan T.T

    Haha, it’s okay. I dedicate it to the cause!

    Well done everyone. See you at the meeting tonight.

  6. ExStudent says:

    Good work guys, hope support for your cause continues to grow.

    From an ex-Warwick student (class of 2000)

  7. Not Warwick Arts Centre says:

    And the revolution carried on into the night.

    And the next day, it rested, but it shall carry on again.

  8. Hayley says:

    Much as I support everything you’re fighting for, this statement is very much twisting the truth of the matter.
    I spoke with the Arts Centre manager, who was very complacent about the occupation, stating to me that “So long as I don’t have to clear up after them, they’re welcome to stay there.”
    She also said that people were not being allowed out of the main Conference Room doors, which had to be guarded by Security under campus rules, but were welcome to come and go through the fire escape in the Conference Room. Therefore your statement that people were blocked from joining you is not entirely true, as they could easily have joined you through the fire exit.
    You also state that you were denied free and complete access to the toilets. Again, if you had left through the fire exit and come in through the main doors of the Arts Centre, no one would have stopped you. Obviously you had to find alternative toilets overnight as the Arts Centre is always locked overnight. You cannot expect an independent business such as the Arts Centre to leave itself unlocked with free access not only for you but all potential burglars overnight!
    Keep fighting the good fight, but try not to lie so openly in the future okay?

    • Serafini says:

      Hayley says:
      November 25, 2010 at 4:15 pm
      “She also said that people were not being allowed out of the main Conference Room doors, which had to be guarded by Security under campus rules, but were welcome to come and go through the fire escape in the Conference Room.”
      Not true and I know that as a fact, as I was there! Keep posting, but try not to lie so openly in the future okay?

      • Hayley says:

        I was just passing on the comments of the Arts Centre Manager. It was not a lie on my part, just what I was told by management. I was told you were allowed to come and go through the fire escape. If that is not true, I do apologise for being misinformed and for accusing the original poster of lying, but please don’t accuse me of lying, as I was only passing on what I had been told by management.

      • Ruth says:

        Hi Hayley,

        Thanks for the message of support! I have to back-up those who have said that the Arts Centre Manager was lying – people who wished to join the occupation were *not* let in through the stage door, and any student who left the protest could not re-enter the building unless they could break back in by running past security. Sadly, very few managed this!

        As such, we are not twisting the truth: we were actively denied access to the toilets. Of course, it was incredible sensible for the University and Arts Centre to do this, as they wanted us out of the room, but deeply unpleasant of them.

  9. Love and rage from the Manchester occupation. Keep up the good work and we’re standing strong alongside you as well as with universities all over the country.

  10. OverTheTop says:

    “despite being denied free and complete access to toilets”

    You can’t illegally occupy a building and then complain that you aren’t given access to facilities. If you needed the toilet you could always have left. You might as well complain that they didn’t bring you breakfast while you are at it.

    Don’t get me wrong, I support the cause but you are making out that you were somehow robbed of some of your rights. You could always have left.

  11. Sorobone says:

    >but were welcome to come and go through the fire escape in the Conference Room.

    She’s lying. There was a security guard the whole time. He was a nice enough guy, but he wasn’t letting anybody in.

    >You can’t illegally occupy a building and then complain that you aren’t given access to facilities.

    Well, you might have a point. But there are a few things to say here:
    First: Occupation isn’t illegal. We weren’t breaking any laws. It is a civil matter.
    Second: By preventing access to facilities the university is sending a very clear message to its students – ‘we won’t be reasoned with, instead we will use security and police to make you so uncomfortable that you leave us alone’.

    Also, I think the sadistic cow who is head of security turned on the air-con in the middle of the night. Never been that cold in my life 🙂

    Basically, the university were relying on a commitment to non-violent civil disobedience to fuck with us. If we’d decided at the start that we were going to secure the toilets by force, there were 70 of us, there wouldn’t be much they could do about it.

    But anyhow, the concerns about toilets and freezing cold was never why we left. The problem was we couldn’t use the space in a constructive manner because of the realities of the security cordon. If we’d wanted to do teach-ins, for instance, the lecturer would have had to break his way past the security. It’s not really something I hold against the uni – I kind’ve thought they’d be as unreasonable as humanely possible – but it is something that made the occupation (by the time it was 12 of us) untenable.

    I don’t think this is the end of the matter either. At all.

  12. amo ergo sum says:

    “I kind’ve thought they’d be as unreasonable as humanely possible” nice one!
    Most of the money of the university comes from abroad (i.e. foreign students), one could thus conclude that uni management would hate bad publicity, unfortunately many of the students in the demo are of foreign descent…

  13. H, just want to send a message of solidarity from the soas occupation. i’m sorry to hear how the management responded to your occupation, especially not allowing lectures to continue inside the occupation. Here at soas, we have been served an injunction after two court hearings which we fought to the bitter end. However, even though an injunction has been served, and thus technically illegal to be here, we voted at a 300 strong meeting yesterday to ignore the injunction. In response to this, the management have now opened up negotiations for the first time, so we will continue to stsy strong. Best of luck for further actions, we stand in absolute solidarity with you!


    • Sorobone says:

      Everybody I’ve talked to is in total awe of SOAS’s efforts – love your work, keep it up!

      We should really start a uni league table for occupations. I suspect SOAS would be pretty close to the top spot.

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