We’ve all had a long day at the occupation.
A group of students walked into Lower Parliament hall, at the University of St Andrews, in order to take and hold that space. The aim is to occupy University property, disrupting the academic life of the University as little as possible. From the outset, the University took an uncompromising and confrontational attitude. A petition signed by over 400 students was personally handed to members of the University administration. After a while, Peter Clarke and Stephen McGee came down and reiterated that there would be no access. Promptly they also took down our WiFi, telling us in no uncertain terms they would use limiting freedom of access and information to stifle the occupation.
Their attempts to cut the protest off failed, as Kevin Dunion, Rector of the University, paid the occupation, showing support and solidarity. UCU representatives also came, seeking to tighten links with the student anticuts movement. The Student’s Association also expressed great support for the Occupation through an email sent to all students.
Steve McGee and Peter Clarke were in and out of the Occupation as well, reminding the protest, that while they fully supported the general right for peaceful protest they would make it as difficult as they could for the Occupation to continue. They also emphasised that they would sit at no negotiation tables with the occupiers.
The Occupiers stood by their demands, and refused to be cowed by administration. Tomorrow should see renewed solidarity from students dropping by to express support, and Wednesday some kind of large solidarity demonstration in collaboration with the UCU and against all tuition fee cuts.