Day Two – Warwick Students Occupation of the Arts Centre Conference Room

Liveblog

8.05: After dragging myself out of bed, I’ve now found we have a small space amongst Bristol, Brighton and Leeds on the ‘Students Protest Across the UK’ page on the BBC –

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-11828882

“Warwick:

More than 70 students have taken over a lecture theatre at Warwick University.

The rally in Warwick has been largely peaceful so far, police said.

But minor scuffles between students and security guards have taken place outside and inside the Centre.

It is thought some students were planning to stay overnight.”

As far as we know, they’re still in there, but the live feed webcam @ THIS link has been turned off. Will be going down to the Arts Centre for when it opens at 8.30 to see what’s happening.

Also, forgive me for all my spelling mistakes in the past few posts. I really was trying to concentrate on getting quotes written down rather than checking it!

08.35: Students leave the ACCR and head towards the SUHQ.
08.45: 6 protesters head towards University House with a pan of the students’ urine from throughout the night.
09.00: They head to the second floor of University House and enter the central room of the open offices, next to the Vice Chancellor’s office.
“Does anyone know where the VC is? We have a present for him…” They they quickly left, before being asked to leave.
09.20: The protesters head to the library for breakfast (Y)

“I love when you open your bag and find a megaphone

09.35: Details of overnight:
Chris Luck: 133 people watching the live stream during the evening.
Statement has been put up on the wordpress blog:

Statement to lecturers regarding tomorrow’s lectures
Posted: November 24, 2010 by warwickagainstthecuts in Uncategorized
0

Here is the content of the email that we have sent to individual lecturers who are scheduled to teach in the ACCR tomorrow.

“We understand that your lecture in the ACCR tomorrow has been rescheduled by the university due to our occupation of the lecture theatre. We would like to make very clear that we do not intend to cause any disruption and that this action was not sanctioned by us; we want this to remain a space for education. As such we strongly support lectures going ahead as usual and whilst we will maintain a non-intrusive symbolic presence we would not disrupt the lecture.

We hope you will consider holding your lecture in here as normal.

Yours sincerely,

Students of Warwick University (currently in occupation)”

We couldn’t contact the Business School lecturers because we couldn’t find their addresses, so if anyone has a lecture in here tomorrow with the Business school please draw their attention to the fact that we want lectures to go ahead.

09.36: A further statement on the occupation’s end on the WAC blog.

“Statement following this occupation
Posted: November 25, 2010 by warwickagainstthecuts 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.”

The protesters are currently writing up statements on the University house action this morning.
They are also waiting on word for which room they can use for tonight’s meeting regarding the occupation and future plans.
According to the protesters who stayed the night, the air conditioning remained on all night, which made if difficult for them to sleep. The security remained outside throughout the night.
As the protesters walked up towards University House they discussed the occupation and why it didn’t last as long as planned. They stressed that they would have stayed there if more people were allowed to come back, it wasn’t that the protest wasn’t strong enough, but numbers diminished as people eventually had to leave. Reference was made to the previous protest against occupations in Gaza in 2008 which lasted for days. They thought the problem was the room’s location and inaccessibility and the fact that they were unable to have more protesters enter the room. There were around 8 students left by the end of the occupation, who decided to leave the arts centre as a group at around 09.30.

09.51:  A statement from WAC. ”

This morning, just before 9am, after the protesters terminated the occupation in the Arts Centre Conference Room, a delegation of students took a saucepan of urine to University House, in order to present it to the Vice Chancellor. This was due to the fact that whilst in occupation protesters were denied access to toilets and so were forced to relieve themselves in a variety of receptacles. We feel that this presentation accurately represents our feelings regarding the university’s failure to respond appropriately to a) our access needs and b) our demands that emerged from the occupation.”

09.56: Megan Fortune, one of the organisers: “I love it when you open your bag and find a megaphone.”

09.57: Apparently the group held two workshops last night regarding the cuts and occupations at around 8pm and around 11pm. This was partly held over Skype but mainly to the rest of the room in the ACCR.

10.01: The BBC has now caught up with the end of the protest after a statement was emailed to the press.

“Student end overnight sit-in at Warwick University

Students in lecture theatre The students stayed in the theatre overnight
About 15 students have ended their overnight occupation of a lecture hall at the University of Warwick in protest at higher tuition fees.

Student Jehanzeb Khan said they had wanted the university to condemn plans to raise tuition fees up to £9,000 a year, and to reveal what cuts are planned.
About 70 students moved into the lecture theatre on Wednesday as protests took place across the UK.
Their protest ended about 0900 GMT.
Minor scuffles between students and security guards took place outside and inside the arts centre on Wednesday.
Students at Warwick said they were protesting against “the marketisation of our education system” and the transfer of the cost of a public service on to students, university staff and employees.
West Midlands Police said on Wednesday there was “a peaceful protest at Warwick University and there had been no issues between security, police and students”.
In a list of demands to the university, the protesters said they had wanted it to condemn the government’s plans for the restructuring of higher education, the raising of tuition fees and the removal of public financial support for arts and social sciences.
They had also called on the vice chancellor, Prof Nigel Thrift, to discuss these issues with the protesters.
The national protest was organised by the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC).”

Its extremely annoying that they’re still using the really rubbish iPhone pictures the guy was taking yesterday and not the awesome ones I emailed to them multiple times. Think I’ll try that again. Sigh.

At least they reported the story a few minutes after it happened rather than a few hours…

10.08: Statement of why the protesters decided to leave the ACCR.

“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 (The Boar) still have a live feed going if you want any more updates, but it’s doubtful that a lot will happen until later this evening when the group are arranging another meeting – 5pm in SUHQ.
http://theboar.org/news/2010/nov/25/live-day-2-fees-occupation/
“This morning, just before 9am, after the protesters terminated the occupation in the Arts Centre Conference Room, a delegation of students took a saucepan of urine to University House, in order to present it to the Vice Chancellor. This was due to the fact that whilst in occupation protesters were denied access to toilets and so were forced to relieve themselves in a variety of receptacles. We feel that this presentation accurately represents our feelings regarding the university’s failure to respond appropriately to a) our access needs and b) our demands that emerged from the occupation.”
“This morning, just before 9am, after the protesters terminated the occupation in the Arts Centre Conference Room, a delegation of students took a saucepan of urine to University House, in order to present it to the Vice Chancellor. This was due to the fact that whilst in occupation protesters were denied access to toilets and so were forced to relieve themselves in a variety of receptacles. We feel that this presentation accurately represents our feelings regarding the university’s failure to respond appropriately to a) our access needs and b) our demands that emerged from the occupation.”

10.23: Whoops. Fail in communications with Derek – didn’t see him upload this video. This was yesterday when the protesters were trying to hold their workshop, and the police were trying to move them out of the doorway. It’s up here on YouTube if anyone wants a look…?

16.57: A statement from the Press Office at the University

“The students are perfectly entitled to protest and, in a way, it is a demonstration of how passionately they care about the higher education system. The University is facing a cut to its teaching funding by what could be up to 80%. This would have a major impact on us and raising tuition fees is one way where we would be able to reduce the impact of the budget cuts to preserve the excellent, internationally-recognised teaching and facilities which students expect from Warwick. No decision has been made by the university around tuition fees but at the moment that is the only option suggested by government. So we will continue to observe the national debate and wait to hear if other funding options are offered.”

A meeting is also due to take place in a few minutes time, meeting in the SUHQ and then moving on to another room nearby.

The Facebook link for the page is here. Sorry it’s so late!

17.05: This is way out date, but I’m still searching for anywhere else that was covering the event! They did update this today though, the story on The Boar blog was from last night, so we’ll update that later.

http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-news/2010/11/25/warwick-university-students-sit-in-protest-over-tuition-fees-92746-27714424/

23.47: Another statement from the university (just updating from the Boar Blog now as I’m in no position to get any new information.)

“We would have been heavily criticised if we didn’t put in place measures to ensure our staff, students and the public who use our facilities here on campus, were not kept safe. We believe the appropriate steps were taken to manage the protest. A balance was struck between allowing the protestors to voice their concerns and frustration around tuition fees and keeping the disruption to University to a minimum.”

A conclusion on the meeting where the occupaiton was discussed and plans for the future of the protests were also explored.

#

Tuesday next week will be the next day of action. Students are planning a ‘teach-in’, for which space will apparently be provided by the SU. It will begin at 11am. The idea behind the teach-in is to create an open space where education is free, and people can discuss topics related (or not) to the cuts and fee rises.
#

There may also be ‘unspecified direct action’ following the teach-in. It’s not clear at this point what form this will take.
#

The attempts yesterday to both occupy and hold teach-ins in the same space were deemed to have failed (people couldn’t enter and leave freely), and future attempts will separate the two. This is why they’ve chosen the SU for the teach-in – it’s neutral space and there won’t be security and access issues.
#

No official word yet from the SU or the protest organisers.

Any more updates, see theboar.org 🙂
The newspaper will be published this coming Tuesday with reports and comments from the occupation.
If anyone has any more information or wants to get in touch, email news@theboar.org or me tashymeep@googlemail.com 🙂

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Education

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s