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UCL student occupation

Dear UCLUCU Member,

This is to inform colleagues that following a short lunchtime protest, a significant number of UCL students decided to peacefully occupy the Jeremy Bentham Room in the Wilkins Building in protest at the Government's cuts in Education.

They have collectively drawn up a list of certain demands to be placed on UCL management, calling on them to

  • Issue a statement condemning all cuts to higher education and the rise in tuition fees
  • Implement a complete 'open books' policy with regards to existing budget constraints
  • Ensure no redundancies for teaching, research or support staff
  • Reverse its outsourcing policy by bringing staff back in-house
  • Implement the full living wage package for all cleaning, catering and security staff with no cuts to hours and jobs
  • Ensure no victimisation or repercussions for anyone participating in the occupation
  • Allow free access in and out of the occupation.

UCL UCU Executive agreed today to lend our support to the students because their cause is just. National UCU policy agreed at Congress 2010 (see APPENDIX 1) calls for branches to support student protests, up to and including occupations of colleges, in defence of Higher Education. We encourage staff to visit the students and express their support.

On Monday, our members voted to defend students victimised as a result of the demonstrations on 10 November. We therefore encourage our members to take part in and build this peaceful occupation, and call on UCL management to join the public movement to defend Education, and openly condemn the government's proposals.

We further call on UCL management to respect the fact that students do not take such actions lightly and that this protest, which is directed primarily against Government policy, should be allowed to go ahead without the use of physical force or disciplinary threats against participants.

Messages of support for the students can be sent to ucloccupation@gmail.com. They have also set up a blog on http://ucloccupation.wordpress.com/.

Please forward this message to colleagues.

UCL UCU Executive Committee

APPENDIX 1: CONGRESS RESOLUTION, 2010 Higher Education Sector Conference

HE18 Solidarity with our students

Conference notes:

  • The recent wave of student protests against education cuts at a number of universities, including Sussex, Westminster and London Met.

Conference believes:

  • The development of a vibrant student movement is a key ingredient in a successful fight against education cuts and job losses, and that UCU must seek alliances with students and their organisations in that fight.

Conference resolves to:

  • Urge branches to work with local student representatives to plan joint campaigning in order to better resist education cuts and job losses;
  • Organise joint campaigning and co-ordinated actions with national NUS, and local student anti-cuts campaigns, as and when possible;
  • Support the right of student self-activity (including occupations and other non-violent direct actions) in defending staff jobs and education provision;
  • Support any student faced with victimisation for taking part in non-violent direct action in support of staff unions and in defence of staff jobs and education provision.

PASSED UNANIMOUSLY

Original motion in UCU270

ENDS

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