Thursday, 19 February 2009

Result of the Negotiations

The Acting Vice Chancellor told us in a meeting this morning that in order to set up scholarships for students in Gaza we would need to go to each department head and discuss the possibility with them as power is apparantely devolved to each department and out of the control of the VC and uni bureaucracy. Whether this is true, or an attempt to avoid being proactive over this issue is unknown. Either way the next stage of this process is underway and we will be engaging with each UEA department and aiming to gain more support from both students and staff. Rest assured, we will continue to try for options in order to gain at least partial success for our aims.

We were also told that the following statement, from Universities UK would be circulated:

“Universities UK supports calls for an end to the conflict in and beyond Gaza. We are particularly aware that many of the civilian casualties have occurred in educational establishments.

The UK’s universities are resolutely committed to the right to education, enshrined in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Higher education, in particular, is a global activity and we value our academic links with universities all over the world. The international nature of higher education means it is a force for understanding, tolerance and respect between peoples.”

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Negotiations with the Uni

The students involved with the UEA oaccupation will be engaging in negotiations with the uni authorities in the next couple of days, and will be presenting the demands made and a petition supporting the aims. We have support from both staff and students, so hopefully the demands will go well. Updates after the negotiations are done.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Occupation ends

The occupation of UEA has just ended, after a hectic 24 hours.  The reason for ending the occupation have been two fold.  Firstly, the uni authorities have shown a willingness to enter into negotiations over some of our demands (and have provided a letter in writing to that effect) and we will soon present the uni with a list of signatures (over 100 in total so far) in support of what we did, and our aims.  The second reason was much less positive, we were told that the university could not guarantee that the occupation would not be forcefully evicted during the night (hands up who can spot the barely veiled threat).  Because of this we are entering into negotiations with the university who should grant at least some concessions.  Should they renounce this agreed position then it is indeed possible that direct action will flair up again, but that is yet to be seen.  We would like to thank all those who sent us messages of support and who helped us in any way, it really meant a lot to see such solidarity and support in the face of some truly idiotic disinformation tactics.  We will be gathering more signatures until negotiations begin.  Watch this space.

Rally tomorrow

To keep up the pressure on the university and to show them that we won't be intimidated by threats there is a rally planned tomorrow (Friday 13th) at midday on the steps of arts one.  Please try and make it if you can to show your support for the occupation.

Update on the situation

The University is taking an odd attitude towards the protest, threats have been made against those distributing our leaflets which we strongly condemn as being a violation of our right of freedom of speech.   They are also attempting to prevent students from entering the occupation, again violating rights of freedom of association and protest.  There has however been talk of some progress in our demands.  Anyone who can, please come down to the occupation to voice your protest over this treatment which we deem to be massively hypocritical for an institution which claims to stand for critical thinking and freedom.   We've also been told that the Union is likely to pass a motion allowing food into the building which is good news.   There have also been visits by sympathetic academics and there are currently two police officers outside the doors.

P.S Anyone who can't make it to the occupation please ring or email the vice chancellor voicing your opposition to university tactics and support for the students in occupation.  Be polite, but firm.  Vice Chancellor:  +44 (0)1603 592206 or

Latest News

There will be a read in and discussion throughout the day and anyone who wants to come along is welcome.  Also, the uni has made a very weak offer, in exchange for ending the occupation they will grant three of the students a one hour meeting with the vice chancellor.  This has been unanimously rejected twice.  The reason being that by giving up the occupation we lose all potential leverage and have no doubt that the vice chancellor would quickly dismiss all our demands.  Thankyou for all the support so far, it is very much appreciated.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Quick update for the night:  Relations with security have taken a much more positive twist with previously hostile members leaving and new staff arriving and discussing things with the students.  The University have been in contact with the occupants and some small scale negotiations have started.

Also, just to clarify on a previous point, the union has not yet voted on the occupation (this will happen tomorrow) but are currently obliged to support student protest.  Whether they support us or not as a specific action will be decided tomorrow.