University asks for immediate end to occupation

Whilst a large general meeting was taking place, two men (complete with security, and a roaming police van outside) walked in and read the statement below. They then proceeded to cut off all power to the lecture theatre except for the lights.

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“I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Steven Dudderidge. I am the director of student operations and support, and with me this evening is Professor David Reilly, the Pro Vice Chancellor of the student experience and a member of the University management board. We’re here this evening as representatives of the university management to ask formally that this occupation be brought to an immediate end and everyone leaves the room.

If this occupation is brought to an end now, senior management of the university will convene a meeting with the full range of relevant campus societies to promote dialogue around the issue of the Middle East and the recent conflict in Gaza. No dialogue will take place whilst this room is occupied.

I would like to remind you that the university has always facilitated and supported the rights of students to protest peacefully on issue they feel strongly about. Students deserve to have their views heard providing that this does not impinge on academic freedom or the freedom of fellow students to further their own learning. This occupation is clearly in breach of those principles and has caused considerable disruption to the experience of students, staff and the wider harmony of the campus.

The conduct of anyone who does not leave this room will from this point onwards be subject to active consideration under university regulations and our codes of discipline. I have to state that disciplinary action will be taken where appropriate. As is routine, the university will be closing this building for the weekend. I specifically ask that anyone who is not a registered student of the university or a current member of university staff leaves the room and premises immediately in order for the university to comply with its health and safety obligations.

Thank you very much for listening.”

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14 responses to “University asks for immediate end to occupation

  1. What is happening now? Have you left the building? Let us know what happens next.
    If you do leave perhaps you should arrange a meeting with the university authorities before you go. If they don’t follow up your demands properly you can always re-occupy.
    Solidarity

  2. Cutting off the power in freezing cold weather at somewhere people are sleeping over, is a human rights violation under section 25 of the Universal Declaration. Though nothing compared to what the people of Gaza are going through. I hope you guys are OK in there – wrap up warm.

    Anyway – this little visit would seem to indicate that the university is trying to find a way to make concessions without appearing to make concessions. And, yes, very immature/arrogant. “We won’t talk to you unless you do what we say” basically.

    Has anyone contacted the Malaysian campus student associations yet? Malaysia being a Muslim country, and Malaysia’s government broadly anti-Israel, I would imagine people there being rather unhappy with the university’s position.

  3. How childish indeed.

    ‘Dialogue’ is so often used as a get out clause for people in positions of power shirking responsibility. I have heard it so many times now it makes me sick to hear it once again. We can ‘dialogue’ all we want but It won’t change anything as long as the University supports the opression of people in Palestine and around the world, economically and institutionally. The fact that theyve done this shows youre getting to them. Remember that many of the people of gaza dont have power or water. Hang in there.

    Hope everyone is OK, and I would be in there with you If I wasnt thousands of miles away (planning my own actions, maybe…). So many students around the world are watching and supporting you. I trust everyone in that room to come to a sensible democratic decision. It genuinely brought tears to my eyes to see this happen. Beautiful stuff.

    Love and peace and solidarity

  4. Wow this is crazy. Keep up the struggle, don’t let them kick you out.

  5. Don’t let them intimidate you, although that’s easy to say from a distance. If there are enough people to stay over the weekend then you have next week to widen support on campus and beyond. But whatever happens you’ve started your campaign of solidarity with a bang. Stay strong.

  6. Treating activists like hooligans is nothing but a typical response from the University’s lately completely unrelenting management.
    They were specifically asked not to cancel any lectures due to be given; no one led to the breach of any academic ‘priniciples’ but the University’s own reactions.
    How many are still in the room? Keep up the good work guys!

  7. Up the occupation of B62!

    As far as I’m aware, people (i.e., the occupiers) are discussing among themselves in order to mount a coherent collective response to the university’s belligerence. The numbers of occupiers have swelled, rather than dwindled, in response to the university’s actions.

    I think it is far from certain that the decision will be made to leave. Contrary to the university’s claims, no disruption to academic life has been caused by anyone other than the university – the occupation has repeatedly and clearly stated that it wishes and intends for lectures to continue: B62 has at no point been shut off for the purposes of lectures by anyone other than the university administration.

    As the university’s quibbles with the occupation are baseless, it has no grounds to demand the occupation to end – the occupation of B62 is neither illegal or against the university’s own regulations.

    Up the occupation of B62!

  8. Head for the VC’s office. You won’t curry favour by disrupting lectures. It might be worth taking them up on their offer of a meeting and ending the occupation to allow this to happen but don’t forget that you’re perfectly justified in taking peaceful direct action so don’t let their threats scare you if you feel the need to force the issue.

  9. Having said that… it does sound like the uni is willing to do business so don’t shoot yourselves in the foot….

  10. Pingback: Poetix » Blog Archive » Wider Harmony Disrupted

  11. immature university actions

    Shows that you guys are in the right. Let us know of how it continues

  12. I think the University management meant to say that ‘academic convenience’ rather than ‘academic freedom’ has been disrupted. No lectures were canceled, simply moved to other rooms. And of course, that was the Universitys’ decision, not the will of the occupiers. They really need to work on the accuracy of these statements of theirs.

  13. Carmella Reece

    Helllo!
    Keep up what you’re doing and dont let the university intimidate you. I know the editor of DEEN Magazine. I’m sure she will be happy to do a feature on this for a documentary she’s doing. Perhaps worth contacting her at editor@deenmagazine.com – it will help raise awareness further. The magazine isnt out until spring, so there’s nothing on the website.
    There should be more people doing what you are!

  14. Pingback: Nottingham forcibly evicted, Hallam to be suspended « The Warwick Solidarity Sit-In

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