Students go into Occupation after 400-attended Emergency Union General Meeting
November 30th, 2010
Charlotte Gerada, Ashok Kumar
General Secretary Education
LSE Students’ Union LSE Students’ Union
Ph: 07971395413 Ph: 07799793618
Over 120 Students have gone into occupation of the LSE. This began at 2pm today and has been entirely peaceful. We understand that these students have occupied the Vera Anstey in the Old Building – purposefully not disrupting any students, teaching or learning within the School. Students are demanding that Howard Davies write a joint open letter with the LSE Students Union and the Universities and
Colleges Union (UCU).
Ashok Kumar, LSE Students’ Union Education Officer said, “We have been trying to get Howard Davies to write a more powerful statement for a while now. Less than a month ago we asked that he write a strongly worded letter at the Union General Meeting, but he refused claiming to have done ‘all that was in his power’. We know this isn’t the case, its
now or never – and when our university is losing nearly 100% of its teaching grant, the fact that Howard has barely lifted a finger to protest is a unacceptable.”
Hero Austin, LSE Students’ Union Community and Welfare Officer “The occupations taking place around the country have been at a mass scale. These aren’t a few activists demonstrating, but hundreds of students who have marched, demonstrated and recognised the power of direct action.”
The occupation comes less than a week after students at the LSE staged a sit-in at the constituent offices of Liberal Democrat MP Simon Hughes (Southwark and Bermondsey), protested outside of a Nick Clegg lecture at Kings Place, and demonstrating on the streets of London on November 24th.
Voting is now underway across the entire student body of LSE about whether the Students’ Union should directly support occupations like this or not. You can vote at www.lsesu.com/vote. We would ask the School
directly liaise with those students in occupation about their demands until the Students’ Union position is decided by our members. The
results of this will be known shortly after 5pm on Friday 3 December.
The LSE occupation comes after over 25 universities around the country went into occupation on the 24th of November demonstration. Students at the LSE have one demand; that the university director, Howard Davies, co-draft an open letter to the government with the Students’ Union.
We have been asked by some students to clarify the legal status of an occupation. As our members would expect, the Trustees of the Union would not allow resources to be used to directly facilitate illegal activity.
Charlotte Gerada, LSE Students’ Union General Secretary said “Whatever the result about the tactics used, it is the policy of our Students’ Union to actively support campaigns and students who are taking action against the cuts to higher education, increased fees, and the marketisation of higher education”
At this stage, in terms of questions about legality of an occupation – Students’ actions within the School are covered by the law and the School’s code of conduct
– The Students’ Union, as a charity, should not facilitate any illegal activity. If it did, the Trustees could be liable for those actions
– If the motion passes, as part of the actions of the SU, they would have to communicate things like the School’s code of conduct, perhaps legal guidance about an occupation
– As of yet, there is no occupation, so questions about its legal status are hypothetical
– If the motion did pass, the SU would have to take a direct role in negotiating between the School and anyone in occupation
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