Daily Archives: 02/12/2010

How to support your local occupation

Our occupation has now lasted for 60 hours – not as long as others (like UCL! so impressed by you guys!) but still quite a while! We’re really grateful to all of those who’ve supported us; without them I don’t think we could have lasted. If you’d like to support an occupation, here are some ideas how:

If you want to donate things, the following would probably be welcomed:
* washing up liquid & cloths
* bedding
* extension cords
* food
* art & banner-making materials (paint/cloth/card/pens)
* first aid stuff
* entertainment (music, films, books, games)
* money

Please check what cooking facilities people have access to if you want to donate food; people are likely to have kettles and possibly have a microwave, but are unlikely to be able to boil water for pasta or rice. It’s also really helpful to mark foods as meat, fish, vegetarian or vegan, plus list ingredients.

Depending on how the university has reacted, occupiers may need different things. Our university has turned off both wired and wireless connections, so dongles are really, really useful. They also haven’t fixed the electricity, so at the moment we’re running a pedal generator so we can charge phones and laptops. It gets cold at night, especially if the heating’s off, so heaters, hot water bottles and bedding may be useful.

If you can get there, please consider joining us – especially in the evening or weekends when security might try to drag people out.

If you’re a lecturer, tutor or student society member, please consider hosting events there. Tonight the ballroom dancing society had their session there and we used a pedal generator to power their mp3 player. The occupiers don’t want to disrupt people’s educations and will go out of their way to help. If you’re able to, please consider leading a discussion, giving a talk or holding a workshop in the occupation.

If these things aren’t feasible, please consider emailing, tweeting or commenting on the occupations’ blogs in support. There’s a solidarity wall up in the Great Hall and it’s full of names of other university occupiers, organisations, university members, university societies, FE colleges, parents, university departments and so on who’ve offered us solidarity. It’s really inspiring to see – we cheer every time someone new gets added – and it reminds us that we’re fighting not for ourselves, but for others.

Current occupations

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News from the Occupation

Latin and Ball Room Society enjoy pedal powered class!

While the University failed to address Latin and Ball Room Society’s concerns that there is no electricity being supplied to the Great Hall, the peaceful occupiers were only too happy to supply the impressive dancers with pedal powered speakers!

Latin and Ball Room Society can now be added to the list of student groups that have successfully enjoyed the space being occupied by Nottingham Student’s Against Fee’s and Cuts.

Educational activities and events taking place in the occupied Great Hall

Yesterday saw Dance Society use the space, while also borrowing speakers, and since the occupation began a number of seminars and lectures from the departments of Sociology, Politics, Critical Theory, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Latin America have taken place.

In addition, two Venezuela activities visited the occupation to express solidarity and support. Joel Linares and Marco Manresa sang Venezuelan protest songs while also sharing their experiences of student and community organising in Venezuela. The workshop with the Venezuelan’s was referred to by many as “inspirational” as the two explained how students were instrumental in the attainment of free higher education in Venezuela.

While the occupiers are busy facilitating learning through seminars, lectures, discussions, workshops and other educational events and activities, the registrar, Paul Geatrix, interrupted a Politics lecturer to make his brief, false and ineffective statement which has been officially responded to by the occupiers.

Billy Brag supports Great Hall Occupation

While performing in Rock City, the rock musician and activist Billy Bragg commended the Great Hall occupation. Two members of the occupation were allowed into Rock City in order to flyer the concert-goers about the occupation. If Billy Bragg is able, he will visit the occupation on Saturday the 4th of December. This is also the day of the joint demonstration between the University of Nottingham, Trent, college and school students across Nottingham. It has been suggested that the students wanting to fight the cuts, come to the Great Hall for a meeting to discuss how to further unite and organise.

The Occupation Goes On

The occupation is going into its fourth day and spirits are very high!

Today the the Registrar came to make threats of forced eviction but within 30 minutes 200 students, university staff and supporters had come and joined the occupation to defend it!

Billy Bragg, the protest folk singer, today read out our demands and encouraged support from fans at his gig in Nottingham Rock City tonight! We have got news that 1000’s of Greek students staged a protest outside the British Embassy in Athens, in solidarity with all the student occupations throughout the country.

We will continue to resist and we hope that you will continue to support us. Come down to the occupation and join in our activities. Support us in any way you can, even if it’s bringing down some bread!

Love and solidarity
Nottingham Uni Occupation!

Occupation Events & Activities III

10:00 – Professor Siba Grovogui from John Hopkins University – “USA – Race and International Politics”

12:00-17:00 – Senior Citizen Event (booked prior to the occupation)

13:00-14:00 – Daily General Meeting

15:00 – Banner making for Saturday’s joint demo with Trent Uni and Schools and Colleges across Nottingham. Making of Robin Hood costumes!

16:00 – Live Music! Piano Performance (We have a grand piano in the Great Hall)

17:00 – Christopher Phelps – “University: Why the Governments Worldwide are still Cutting”

20:00 – Live Music

Open letter to the Registrar in response to statements

Dear Dr Greatrix,

This is a direct response from Notts Students Against Fees and Cuts to two statements made to us by the Registrar.

In those statements, which demanded that we end our occupation of the Great Hall and refused to negotiate with us on our demands, the following points were made:

1. That the university had always supported and facilitated peaceful protest by members of the university community
2. That our actions imperilled the ability of students of the university to carry out their studies
3. That our actions were in contravention of the principles of academic freedom
4. That a forum for discussion of the issues would be arranged for the New Year (probably in February)

In response to the first point, we would like to remind the university of a previous occasion (in 2008), when a student engaged in protest was arrested while on campus at the request of the university. We also reiterate that our current action is undertaken peacefully. We are operating a policy of collective decision-making, non-violence and respect. Supporting and facilitating protest means enabling communication; by refusing to engage with us in discussion of our demands and removing our access to the Internet the university clearly demonstrates that it wishes to silence our voices and curtail our right to protest.

Regarding the claim that our actions stand in the way of the learning of students, we have made clear from the outset that any classes and student groups booked to use the hall will be welcomed by our group. We have also engaged in a programme of lectures and workshops, which are offering a lively, broad and critical education to our participants. Students and staff of the university are encouraged to attend these sessions. We would further highlight that the occupation is providing a positive work space and that participants are continuing to work and study as they would at any other time. They are, of course, severely hampered in doing so by the removal of Internet access in the Great Hall.

On the matter of academic freedom, we must reinforce that the occupation is an environment of discussion and inclusion. United in our battle against education cuts, we welcome participants of all academic and political persuasions. We contrast our open stance to that of the university who excluded a student on the basis of accessing controversial information with the specific purpose of informing a research proposal. An institution genuinely committed to academic freedom would not refuse to engage their students in debate.

On the final point, our primary demand (that the university lobby against the government’s iniquitous cuts to education) is highly time-sensitive, as the debates and legislation to enact those cuts are currently progressing through parliament and the university is already preparing to implement those cuts. The urgency has only been increased by yesterday’s announcement that the vote on increased tuition fees is to be held on 9th December. In the light of these time factors, the opportunity for discussion in February is derisory. By that time the future of Higher and Further Education in this country and the social and academic integrity of our university may well already have suffered irreparable damage. This is not a game to us. The decisions that are about to be made will determine our life chances, the life chances of the students who attend the university in the future, and, vitally, those of the potential students who will be excluded by the regressive measures. The university must, therefore, engage with us and with its students and staff ahead of that vote.

We disagree profoundly with the thrust of the university’s statement, that our action is irresponsible or an attack on the university. Universities are more than tools to train the wealthy for work. They are the spaces where people can become critically conscious and learn to participate in society. We are active, committed members of the community of the university and our occupation is working to preserve and improve university education accessible to all.

We will continue to occupy and urge all members of the student and staff bodies to join us.

Yours,
Nottingham Students Against Fees and Cuts

Press Release

Students from the University of Nottingham peacefully occupying the Great Hall of the Trent Building in protest against rising fees and cuts in higher education spending have been told to leave the building by 4pm today or they will be in violation of the code of conduct. However, following countless emails of solidarity, numerous donations of money, food and other supplies, and visits from professors, lecturers, teachers, school students and parents to show their support, the students have decided to peacefully continue the occupation.a

Occupation Events & Activities II

2 December 2010

13.00-14.00 – General meeting

14:15 – Talk by Professor Andreas Bieler

15:00 – Human Rights and Global Sex Trade seminar

16:00-18:00 – Banner making workshop

18:00 – Film screening