Not only have students agreed to stay inside the occupation past the time that the injunction becomes valid, they have voted to stay for the foreseeable future, resisting aggressive intimidation tactics by university management and instead waiting to be removed by force.
This decision was not made lightly; it took hours of discussion as students debated the risks facing them, but they have decided to do what they feel is right: to continue the fight for a democratic university against privatisation, marketization and cuts. In the face of pressure, they have refused to bend. The occupiers’ reasons behind this move are as follows:
They are defying the university management who are attempting to intimidate students with unprecedented and disproportionate actions against the occupation: namely, taking out an injunction against the occupiers and naming two students as liable for the court costs. The university rely on students prioritising their own interests above that off the collective student body to maintain order: when students act in solidarity with one another we are defying that order.
The media attention generated by this defiant move will prove instrumental in the coming escalation in action taken against the university management and their corporate agenda. We believe that the university management only listen to the needs of profit, therefore any media attention which may shed light on the university’s attempts to close down debate about higher education, suppress legitimate protest and punish its own students for raising these issues will make the public think twice about the credentials of this award-winning institution.
The occupying students have also decided to stay in order to ramp up the pressure on the university to take seriously the hitherto ignored demands they have issued to university management. Reasonable demands concerning the extension of the living wage to staff and students, as well as establishing more democratic structures within the university which give more of a voice to staff and students, have so far been completely ignored by the management. As such, the students now in occupation believe that the only way to be heard is to escalate their direct action. The decision to defy the injunction is part of this strategy.
The influx of students to the occupation has provided fertile ground for further discussion and planning regarding the escalation of direct action on campus. Many inroads were made in this direction and more action will be taking place no matter what happens to the occupation.
We wish to reiterate that we plan to continue our protests until the university management take seriously our demands and drop any charges or sanctions currently threatened against students.
This occupation goes far beyond the walls of the Senate Chamber, and has generated national solidarity from workers and students which will only strengthen our resolve and our capacity to mount ever-escalating actions in furtherance of our demands. On and across campuses a united struggle can and will be mounted against the bosses and politicians guilty of destroying higher education, not just for us but for generations to come.