The Vice-Chancellor issued a statement today in which he agreed to meet with a represenatative of students from the occupation on Monday, providing that the group abondoned the occupation today.
The registrar announced that the group of occupiers need to leave the space in the Trent building that they’re currently occupying due to health and safety reasons. Moreover, with a wedding due to take place in the Great Hall on Saturday, University Management are evidently under great stress to clear the space.
Dave Pike, one of the main proponents of the occupancy, immediately commented “I think this is really impressive”. It soon emerged in the group discussion, however, that people were divided as to how the ultimatum should be dealt with. Suggestions were varied, with one person saying “Can I suggest that we leave the room now, attend the meeting on Monday and occupy that building?” Although in jest, this individual was not the only person to suggest that the room should be abandoned to secure a meeting with the Vice-Chancellor. Many people expressed the view that the group should not lose sight of the campaign, and that they should seize the opportunity to negotiate.
It was also made clear, however, that the terms under which the meeting should be arranged should be strictly in favour of the demo. The general consensus expressed by the group was that the Vice-Chancellor needs to confirm how many students will be allowed in the meeting, and whether a system of free and open debate will be instigated. Others emphasised the need for a back-up plan should the meeting not come to fruition. One person concluded their argument by simply saying “We need to stay sensible about this”.
It is undeniable that the group have formed a unified, safe and responsible demo in their occupation of the Great Hall. The space has been enhanced with shared spaces such as a ‘Prayer Space’, and vibrant displays such as a ‘Solidarity Wall’.
The group host a daily meeting at 1pm which is open to all students. It is believed that by this time today a decision will be made on how the Vice-Chancellor’s proposal will be dealt with.