Defend Education Birmingham have now left the Hornton Grange Occupation.
The University of Birmingham took the case to court on Monday 3rd February, and were granted an injunction for the Hornton Grange conference centre building as well as a possession order for the entirety of Edgbaston Campus, excluding halls of residence.
The occupiers left the building discreetly during the afternoon, after ensuring that the space was left clean and tidy, though maintaining the blinds and barricades in place. We note that these have since been removed, presumably by security or the bailiffs when the injunction came into effect.
We have left a gift for one particular staff member who has been extremely supportive and dedicated to our cause throughout, as a token of our gratitude.
Defend Education are extremely disappointed that the University chose to resort to this measure rather than engaging with our demands or coming to the negotiating table as requested. Last week, members of Defend Education offered to leave the occupation in order to prevent the significant expenditure that gaining an injunction represents, instead asking that the money that would have been spent on the injunction be spent on paying staff a Living Wage. The University have clearly demonstrated that it is a political matter of priorities rather than a lack of sufficient funds which is keeping these people on less than £7.25 an hour.
We are proud to have maintained this occupation for almost two weeks, raising awareness of our campaign for a better quality of education and demonstrating our conviction and refusal to be intimidated by university management. This is not the end of our campaign: we have called a demonstration on Wednesday 5th February in support of the suspended students and urge all students to attend. We would like to extend our thanks to those that have supported these students thus far and are appalled at their treatment by the University, and at the lack of support they have received from the Guild of Students.
At the time of release, over 90 sabbatical officers from student unions around the country have signed a letter in opposition to the suspensions, whilst the Guild has chosen instead to condemn the actions of protesters and to remain silent on the illegal kettle and arrests that followed Wednesday’s demonstration.