Image: The Boar

BREAKING: The University of Warwick have issued a statement asking Protect Warwick Women to call off their occupation

The University of Warwick have issued a statement this evening calling for the occupation of the piazza by Protect Warwick Women (PWW) to come to an end. 

In the statement, the University said: “We ask PWW to now call off their protest and work with us, and other students groups, so we can continue to improve our approach.

“We believe that working in partnership is the most effective way of finding long-term solutions. Ultimately, we all share the same determination to tackle sexual misconduct and to ensure all members of our community feel safe.”

PWW held an instagram live following the statement was published. They said the University are “publicly pressuring us into de-occupying the piazza which is not something that we’re going to do.”

They added that the statement was “cowardly” and shows “how little we can trust this University”.

We ask PWW to now call off their protest and work with us, and other students groups, so we can continue to improve our approach

– The University of Warwick
 

Within the statement, the University detailed the areas it is working on with the occupiers. They stated that: “Over the last few weeks, we have met Protect Warwick Women (PWW) on numerous occasions to discuss a detailed list of ideas they have proposed to address concerns over safety and support.

“We’ve welcomed their feedback and have been working with them to consider each and every proposal to see if and how they could be delivered.

“The measures will complement and enhance the provision already in place.

“These include improvements to street lighting, better signposting to the specialist support we offer, and enhanced preventative training. These have been implemented, are in the process of being implemented or will be by a specific point in the future, for which we have provided timelines.”

They also highlighted some of the demands over which the protesters and the University have disagreed. They said that this included two areas: training and security.

The University explained that they disagree with the approach of the occupiers, maintaining that they “have been saddened to see personal attacks against members of staff”.

PWW have alleged that the University have not replied to several of their emails and “are taking advantage of the fact that [they] can’t have face-to-face contact with them”.

The University suggested that they would now be communicating with Warwick Students’ Union and the Students’ Advisory Group “rather than engaging in continued discussions with PWW”.

PWW elaborated on the reasons why they are going to be continuing their occupation despite the University’s call for the protest to end. Their reasons included the claim that 1% of university fees go towards wellbeing, the waiting time for access to wellbeing services, and that the Universities “actions do not reflect their words”.

PWW have now released an official statement in response to the University, which is available to view on the official Instagram account. They said: “We are extremely saddened and surprised by the most recent statement released by the University of Warwick in regards to our movement, of which we were not consulted before their posting.

“Protect Warwick Women is not an isolated group occupying the piazza. We are an embodiment of the lack of safety students face in the eyes of sexual assault, which is time and time again mishandled by the institution that promised to protect us in return for the money we pay them.

“We are not safe, we are not being listened to, and we will not be leaving.”

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