*** Management takes student occupation to court
*** Two students have been threatened to have to pay for legal costs
*** Similar injunctions have previously been condemned by Amnesty International for breaching human rights
University management are seeking to evict the occupiers of the Rootes building, serving them with an injunction without engaging in any negotiations over students’ demands.
The occupation began on Thursday evening following a demonstration of over 1,000 students in protest at the university’s handling of a sit-in on Wednesday, where West Midlands police used CS gas on students and threatened them with a taser.
Management’s conduct is in direct contrast to the reaction of the University of the West of England, where today Vice-Chancellor Steve West visited the campus free education occupation within hours to discuss and negotiate occupiers’ demands.
The Warwick occupation demands include: a call for Vice-Chancellor Nigel Thrift to retract his statement about the alleged assault which has been refuted by witnesses unless he can prove otherwise; to uphold the right to peaceful protest, to support free education, and condemn the unjustified and disproportionate violence used against students.
The demands were democratically decided in the occupation of over 300 students on Thursday evening, following a demonstration of over 1,000 students, the largest in Warwick’s history.
Callum Cant, who is named in the injunction, said:
Management’s attitude, by taking out an injunction and seeking to suppress peaceful protest, shows that they are prepared to spend huge sums of money on legal fees rather than apologise for the disgusting treatment of a peaceful sit-in.
Deborah Hermanns, from the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, said:
This outrageous move follows similar legal action taken at other universities, including one at Birmingham which was condemned by Amnesty International for breaching human rights. We utterly deplore Warwick management’s decision and will continue to fight for the right to protest on each and every campus – free from management and police repression.