Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Up to date:

We have spent our first night in occupation of the Fine Arts Building on Newcastle University campus. We have finalised a list of demands - these are listed below. Despite last nights talks with John Hogan, Registrar for Newcastle University, when he assured us we would be able to be 'fed and watered', security stepped up their presence this morning and refused food to be let in for the occupiers and limited our access to toilets. Still no food has been let into the building. We have enough for a little while longer.

Talks: John Hogan, as planned, came to the occupation to speak to us at 8:30am this morning. He urged us to leave. He has threatened disaplinary measures if we continued. His 'concession' to us was to propose a meeting to be set up where he could 'explain to us the processes of reaching our demands through legitimate channels' providing we ended the occupation straight away. He did not give us any reason to think that any of our demands would be met at this meeting, and so we refused to end the occupation. He refused to talk with us within the occupied space. We compromised with him and called for an immediate meeting with three delegates from our group and himself in a 'neutral place'. They are currently talking in the Student Union building.

Lectures: Despite taking a vote yesterday that we would not disrupt lectures from going ahead and explaining this to John Hogan this morning, we have since heard that the University has cancelled todays lectures in the occupied space. Security is being stepped up and there are now a number of police officers outside. We have not yet had any contact with the police. Despite this, the occupation is going strong. We are spending the time until the delegation returns contacting press, friends, etc and building for a demonstration which is planned for 12 noon outside the occupied space. Because security is tight, we do not know how much we can plan for events within the occupation, but urge supporters to join the demo at 12!

We have had messages of support from members of staff, academics, fellow occupiers, students, trade unions. Thank-you! Keep messages coming to You can also email our VC Chris Brink and urge him to consider our demands. He has not yet made any contact with us.

Come back for more news as it comes.

In solidarity,
Newcastle Occupiers.

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