Occupation day 1 as it happened
23:34 This is the final update of this blog before I sign off for the night. Things are all quiet over in the Arts Centre for now, the building has been locked for the night and students are still not allowed to leave for toilet breaks (they’re using two pots behind a curtain). Despite the rather appalling sanitary conditions, the atmosphere is, and has been throughout the day, almost entirely positive and friendly. Students were getting the security guards food and drinks, and chatting amicably with them at the doors. A few arguments did take place (see 19:01), primarily over an attempted ‘teach-in’ at half past 6, which the authorities were, um, disinclined to allow, to put it mildly.
In terms of what happens now, I’ve heard there is a possibility that the students may be removed from the ACCR first thing in the morning. Last I heard the students were discussing what their response would be in such an eventuality.
I’ll be back at the Arts Centre when it opens to see whether they’re being allowed to remain. Check back here bright and early at 8:30 for more updates!
22:51 Ok, well I’ve got 9 minutes til they kick me out of the Arts Centre. The building’s being locked and they’re not going to let me into the ACCR. Apparently they wouldn’t even let the BBC in… So they say. The building will reopen at 8:30am, I’ll try and get back soon after that to continue coverage.
As for lectures tomorrow, apparently they’re being either rescheduled or cancelled.
It is believed that the offer of another lecture hall that was on the table hours ago has now been removed.
I’m being kicked out, so that’s all from me til I get more internet. Sorry!
22:24 Also, there’s some interesting comments on [this](http://warwickagainstthecuts.wordpress.com/2010/11/24/118/#comments) page of the protestors’ blog. Worth checking out and replying to!
22:20 I was a bit slow on the uptake with this one, but if you’re interested in watching the protest LIVE on video, click [here](http://www.ustream.tv/channel/warwick-university-occupation-against-the-cuts). It’s fascinating.
22:12 Just spoke to Chris Luck, who told me this: The current toilet situation is that students are able to go to the toilet but will not be allowed to reenter the lecture theatre. The University has made the decision that at 11pm, the Arts Centre will be locked as normal, but students will be allowed to remain in the ACCR overnight. However, the toilet situation will remain as it is now.
I’m awaiting further updates.
22:04 Just to clarify, I was actually completely wrong. Just spoke to the Acting Head of Warwick Security – they are no longer allowing toilet breaks, anyone who leaves will not be allowed to reenter. When the building shuts at 11pm, apparently the plan is to allow the protestors to remain in the ACCR, but anyone who comes out “will be escorted politely off the premises”.
Absolutely no activity outside the ACCR (I’m back now, if you’d not figured that out from the above update). The police officer and three security officers are standing there, the doors are shut. Going to try and find out what’s going on inside…
21:23 Just to clarify, they are still allowing toilet and smoke breaks.
Sam Glace says of the attempted return to the space outside ACCR: “We tried, but the numbers of people fizzled down as soon as we reached there. Rubbish. The security guards remained fairly good humoured, although they’ve removed the bulk of the signs, leaving just the canvas mural.”
My thoughts? Typical apathetic Warwick. Even Birmingham put us to shame today with their protest – twice as many in their occupation, last I heard.
21:01 Not much to report at the moment. Chris Luck says: “Educational talks and discussions are taking place about the future of higher education funding and Warwick’s position. Three sabbs are present and awaiting updates from the University”.
It sounds like the plans to come occupy the space outside the ACCR didn’t come to fruition.
Everything seems to have calmed down for the moment, there’s potential for things to kick off later though, when the building shuts at 11pm. I’ll be back on campus by then to keep an eye on things.
20:45 I’m back in Leamington now, I’ve had no updates from campus yet – I will update this when I do. Last report was from Sam Glace via Twitter – those inside ACCR asked (on Skype) for those in the SU to non-violently occupy the space outside ACCR… I’m hoping this little dinner break of mine doesn’t make me miss something important. I will be returning to campus as soon as I’ve eaten, so hopefully won’t miss much!
19:55 Our reporters inside are leaving, as am I, shortly. I’ve got contacts inside and with the other group, so will still be keeping everyone up to date with what’s going on. There may be a brief gap as I travel back to Leamington. So, before I go, here’s what’s going on:
– There are two groups of protestors, one in the Arts Centre Conference Room, the other in the Students’ Union. They’re communicating via Skype, arranging a plan. Everything works democratically, with decisions being voted upon.
– The University has laid down an ultimatum that the students have to leave the ACCR, or they will no longer allow toilet breaks. It’s possible that they will be forcibly removed later in the night, when the Arts Centre closes at 11pm.
– I’ve just been informed by one source that the two groups are going to try and combine, with the one outside the ACCR coming back here to try and get in. We’ll see how that goes.
19:39 Not sure about the last one – Security don’t seem to be aware that there’s a time limit on them making the decision. They’re definitely being asked to move though, just not sure how long they have to do it.
19:37 Just learned that the University has said the protestors need to move from the ACCR – and they will facilitate the move to another room – or they will no longer allow the toilet breaks. Tash Clark, inside the ACCR, reports that this needs to be done within ten minutes. She says the University’s position is that the ACCR is a public area, and if they can’t maintain public safety, then they will call the police.
19:25 My video’s online on [Youtube](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GU_AZ0tfCfQ). The quality’s pretty bad – basically, what’s happening is the police officer is telling the guy on the ground that he’s obstructing a public highway and he’ll use force to move him if he doesn’t do so voluntarily. They then shut the door, cutting off the people inside from those outside. Those outside then were talking with the SU’s Education Officer, Sean Ruston about the Skype link.
19:16 Just spoke to the Security manager here about why the people had been moved on. All he told me was that it’s licensed premises, then said to call the press office. May try that in a minute, but I can’t imagine Peter Dunn (the Head of Communications) would be too pleased to hear from me at quarter past 7…
Don’t forget to keep hitting refresh to get new updates!
19:10 Chris Luck: “The SU is doing everything it can to facilitate communication between those in the ACCR and their supporters outside. We’ve provided meeting rooms 2 and 3 in SUHQ and set up a Skype connection so that there is a free flow of communication externally.”
Also, two people just managed to get past Security into the ACCR – the guard left the door for a second and they bolted in to a round of applause from the 6 or so people standing outside. Door is re-guarded now.
19:05 The University have said that if people stay in the Arts Centre common area, they will shut down both them and the protests inside. Not sure how that would happen, presumably they would forcibly remove everyone… Sean Ruston: “The University are taking quite a hard line about people staying in this space [outside the ACCR]”
SU have seemingly successfully persuaded protestors to go to the SU to Skype link with those inside the ACCR. The plan is apparently to go and discuss with those in the ACCR via Skype whether to set up another occupation in a different space. Stay tuned for details/video/pictures.
19:01 Around 25 people are outside the ACCR. They were sitting down outside the room, asking to be allowed in or allowed to have a ‘teach-in’ in the public space outside the ACCR. The police officer outside, acting ‘on behalf of the university’, shut the doors to the ACCR, cutting off those inside with those outside. As I type this, those outside are discussing whether to take the offer of going to the SU and setting up a Skype link with those inside, or to go to another space on campus and start a second occupation. The SU’s officers are attempting to convince them to go to the SU and use the offer of a Skype link, saying their actions are affecting the negotiations with the University over the occupation.
I have a video, I’ll work on finding a way to upload that in a minute.
18:51 Students who are waiting to participate in the talk but who aren’t allowed into the ACCR are sitting down outside the room. The head of Warwick Security is negotiating with them at the moment. They’re planning on staying there as far as I can tell, until they’re moved on. I’ll see what happens – will try to get some video if anything kicks off…
18:40 Negotiations going on over whether people want a Skype link from ACCR to SU. There are people outside the ACCR, just milling around in the middle of the Arts Centre, by the ACCR entrance. They have been told they’ll be moved on if they stay in the Arts Centre. People aren’t happy – they feel the Arts Centre is a public space. I heard Security saying something about licenced premises – technically they are allowed to move people on, but I don’t think it’s very nice. People I think are going to stay in the Arts Centre until they get forcibly moved, then will go to the SU (is what I understand – that situation may change rapidly).
Protest outside ACCR is about to start – around 15-20 people here. Will likely be made to move.
Those inside ACCR will be allowed to stay.
18:34 They’re attempting to have their workshop/discussion at the entryway to the ACCR, but security have shut that down very quickly. Apparently people aren’t allowed to congregate outside the doors. Trying to get more detail.
Don’t forget to hit refresh to update the page!
18:25 They’re discussing whether to move rooms. The situation as it stands means they won’t be allowed in and out to go to lectures, etc., if they stay in the Arts Centre. The University has extended the offer of a different room, from which they would be allowed to enter and leave freely. It’s up to those in the room to make that decision, though.
18:09 Warwick was mentioned (briefly) on BBC national news a few minutes ago. Everyone in the room cheered.
They’re still trying to get people in at 6.30 for a workshop – not sure how that’s going to work with nobody new being allowed in the room…
18:03 Here’s what the SU representatives said to the people in the ACCR (rough notes from our reporters in the room):
We’re going to talk to the uni.
5 at a time are allowed to go to the bathroom and come back in.
Same sex groups.
Will not allow new students in with you, but you WILL be allowed to re enter.
VC is willing to talk to around 3 of you. If you can get 3 people together…
The biggest issue with this room… public place. This gets incredibly busy, people entering all the time. They are willing to have another room where you can move in an out, any other lecture theatre.
Are they going to hire out a room?
Can choose another room to occupy.
Can we do teaching and workshops?
I’m not sure, not sure we can.
That is for you guys to discuss as a group.
My advice to you is try and get 2/3 people together. I know it’s noble… a collective experience… but try and get people together to try and talk to the VC.
There really is no other option.
We will relay if you discuss as a room. Arrange to go to the toilet.
17:55 Update from the SU: “SU negotiations have resulted in allowing students access to the toilet in groups of 5. Security has given its assurances that these students will be allowed to reenter. New students not allowed in. Uni has offered opportunity for the students to move to another lecture theatre at their discretion. Their concern is that the Arts Centre is a commercial venture with various groups entering and leaving. There will be more updates.”
17:49 Dan and Sean have returned, they’re talking to Chris Luck. Waiting for an interview. People are planning on staying until demands are met, apparently. A food package was just brought – everyone cheered. Stay tuned, and don’t forget to keep hitting refresh!
17:37 The protestors are deciding whether to leave today or stay indefinitely. We’re finding out what the plan is.
Sean and Dan are still in with the VC up at University House.
All quiet outside the ACCR. Two security guards are standing outside the door. Protestors are at the door holding signs out. A security officer very kindly helped one of them set a sign on display next to the door. Still not letting anyone in though.
17:28 One of our reporters inside, Tash Clark, is also updating her own [blog.](http://thefridaynightblog-ject.blogspot.com/)
17:21 From the blog post: “The University has suggested that we are disrupting the education of our fellow students, but it is in fact the University who are doing so by hinting that lectures cannot go ahead within this space. We would like to clarify that we support the continuation of lectures in the conference room, and we will ensure that lectures are not disrupted by occupation participants for the duration of our protest.”
17:17 BBC Coventry have finally [caught up with us](http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-coventry-warwickshire-11833204). No mention of the toilet situation though…
The protestors have put up another [blog post.](http://warwickagainstthecuts.wordpress.com/2010/11/24/118/) They’re holding a workshop at 6.30.
17:05 Not much happening here. Our reporters inside (Tash Clark and Charli Fritzner) say the protestors are planning a workshop for 6.30 discussing the cuts.
The protestors outside have left, it’s just three security guards and the campus police officer. Several people have left the ACCR (Arts Centre Conference Room, if you didn’t know), there are 36 people left inside.
Dan and Sean should be in discussions with the VC right now. We’ll see how that goes.
16:54 Just so everyone’s aware, you need to keep hitting refresh on this page – normally we’d use a Twitter feed for liveblogging that updates automatically, but we didn’t have time to set one up for this. Refresh, refresh, refresh! 🙂
16:49 The Twitter hashtag is #dayx, and #demo2010, for those of you who want to follow it on Twitter. Also, President Dan Stevens and Education Officer Sean Ruston have just left here to go up to University House and talk to the Vice Chancellor.
16:46 One student who is outside the ACCR is trying to deliver food to the protestors. She, on behalf of the protestors, is also asking for as many people as possible to come to the Arts Centre and protest outside.
16:43 Update from Charli Fritzner, one of our reporters inside:
Security are still not letting students enter the ACCR, nor letting them reenter the room after going to the bathroom. Students have set up a makeshift toilet in a pot and deliver the pot to Security, who then clean and return it.
The students currently occupying the room plan to stay until their demands are met.
The University say they will be cancelling lectures scheduled to be held in the ACCR due to health and safety issues with overcapacity. Those occupying the room say they do not want to disrupt any classes and are happy to accomodate.
“We are creating a space where education is free,” explained Jehanzeb Khan, the Anti-Racist Campaigns Officer at the SU.
The Vice Chancellor has let it be known that he wishes to meet with a representative from the occupation. Students have issued a response which invites the VC to visit the room and speak to students at any time. They explain that sending one student would be underrepresentative.
A small number of students are also protesting outside the ACCR. Some lecturers have tried to enter the room but not been allowed in.
There have been over 1000 visits to the blog dedicated to the event: warwickagainstthecuts.wordpress.com.
16:32 In case you missed it earlier, the students have made a blog, which has their list of demands on it. The link is [here.](http://warwickagainstthecuts.wordpress.com/)
16:29 More from Chris Luck: “The main focus of the sabbatical team at the moment is over the issue of access to toilets. The current situation is that students are urinating into a saucepan, which security are emptying and returning to them. Security are providing toilet paper and sanitiser to the protestors. The sabbatical team are lobbying hard to the university and we expect the situation to change often.”
16:27 I’m camped outside the ACCR. We have two reporters just the other side of the door – but we have to talk on Facebook, as Security are not allowing anyone to enter the room. Protestors have been using a pot as a toilet and delivering it to the Security officers to empty. It’s just been collected by the security manager and taken to the toilets.
I’ve also heard that the University has proposed a move to a different room, where protestors would “probably” have access to food, water and toilets. I’m waiting to hear what the outcome of discussions with the university are.
16:23 Chris Luck, the SU Democracy and Communications Officer, is giving me an interview right now. He said: “The President and Education Officer have been in talks with the deputy registrar [of the University] – most specifically to discuss the security situation. As it stands at the moment students are able to leave freely, however there’s no ability to return, even after access breaks – toilets etc. The sabbatical team have had discussions and following reading the demands, we have decided that we support their demands and their peaceful right to protest. The President and Education Officer will be meeting the VC at 5pm today.”
16:17 The _Boar_ has been on scene in the ACCR since the occupation began at 1pm. You can visit our main story [here.](https://theboar.org/news/2010/nov/24/students-occupy-accr-fees-protest/) We are starting this live blog to keep up with developments as they happen – stay tuned!
_For more pictures, check out the Boar flickr feed [here.](http://www.flickr.com/photos/boarnews/)_