Image: Billy Perrigo / Boar News

Students join WFFE occupation after march in support

A group of Warwick for Free Education (WFFE) protesters have joined the ongoing occupation of the £5.3 million “Slate” conference centre, after a demonstration of around 150 people heard speeches at the Koan.

The demonstration began at 5pm, when speeches were made condemning the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), and marking the 2-year anniversary of the a WFFE sit-in where students were sprayed with CS gas.

After the speeches, the group marched to the Slate and many protesters joined those already in occupation of the building. Among these were Warwick SU President Luke Pilot, Education Officer Hope Worsdale, and Postgraduate Officer Nat Panda.

The Slate was unguarded by security and demonstrators were unobstructed entering the heated and fully-lit building. This is despite the University holding a legal injunction against occupation-style protest on campus, meaning that the occupation of the Slate is illegal.

Image: Laura Camplisson / Boar News

WFFE have issued three demands to the University to end the occupation. These are:

1. The University must opt out of the Teaching Excellence Framework
2. The University must agree to Warwick Anti-Casualisation’s 6 demands for fair teaching conditions
3. The University must scrap the protest injunction and apologise for their handling of the events of 3 December, 2014

Extracts from Nat Panda’s speech at the Koan on the TEF:

“In reality the TEF has very little to do with teaching itself, let alone excellence in the field. Instead of focusing on the job they are supposed to be paid to do – teaching – the TEF will force them to take part in needless bureaucratic exercises in endless pursuit of empty statistics.

“Bad for students, bad for staff and in the long run bad for society as a whole – the only people it seems to be good for are the institutions who stand to benefit most from higher fees and those privileged individuals who run them.

“Let us come together to oppose these reforms by supporting those who have been brave enough to take a stand.”

Extracts from a WFFE representative’s speech on the 2014 occupation and injunction:

“Gas burning, the cracking sound of tasers brutal grabbing, those who were there haven’t forgotten and we refuse to let that memory go away.

“The situation ended with the university spending thousands of pounds on a high court injunction, a legal ban of occupations on the university territory, which was condemned by various Human Rights organisations as a violation of the fundamental rights to protest.

“£5.3 million of student fees are turned into this luxurious building dedicated to corporate use when there is not enough accommodation or study spaces.”


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