Statement of dis-occupation – Bristol University Union 25/11/10
At 4pm today, Thursday the 25th of November, Bristol Students’ Union conceded to our demands. As such, in accordance with our agreement, we have called the occupation to a close.
As our previous statement made clear, we took this form action because we had been consistently denied by the Students’ Union (specifically, President James Ashton-Bell) the space and opportunity to discuss the proposed cuts to higher education and to formulate a collective response/course of action. By Occupying the Union building we were able to take this space and facilitate a peoples’ assembly to formulate an agreement on future demands. These will guide our future actions over the coming weeks. We were also able to pressurise the Union into taking action. This is not only evidenced by their commitment to holding an open forum on the future of higher education on Monday but by their agreement to holding and publicising an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to democratically mandate them to take a position on the cuts/fees increases. Additionally the Union agreed to provide free space to students not affiliated to university societies to organise around these issues – a request that up until the occupation had also been denied.
The proposed cuts to higher education and increased fees will have a detrimental impact both on the learning experience in terms range of courses on offer as well as to the accessibility of higher education to people from lower income backgrounds. Further, by cutting back specifically on arts and social sciences, that is disciplines which may facilitate new perspectives on the social and political dilemmas of our times, these changes limit the capacity of the University as a site of social criticism. For these reasons we feel it is imperative that union come out against the cuts/fees increases. We urge all students to attend the EGM on Wednesday the 1st of December as well as the events listed below, to get involved and to keep fighting for the future of higher education. Solidarity with all those in occupation. Our struggle continues.
Monday the 29th of November at the Epi Bar – Forum on the cuts/fees increases
Tuesday – 30th of December - National Day of Protest against Fees & Cuts
Wednesday 1st December – Extra General Meeting, Students Union