Newcastle Occupation of the Fine Art building is coming to an end on Sunday 11th December by 2pm. This is a direct response to the actions of University management today, who have threatened not only University disciplinary action, but also began legal action.
While many members of the Occupation would be happy to remain, if disciplinary action was sought by the University, our group would be severely hampered in taking further action in the future.
While we are disappointed that most of our demands have not been met or that Chris Brink, the Vice Chancellor, has repeatedly refused to meet with members of the occupation or to consider discussing our demands, the occupation has been an outstanding success. We have been pivotal in organising and facilitating marches, protests and direct action across the city. We have connected with people, not only students, but lecturers, unions and members of the public. People are now more aware of the risk of the proposed cuts to higher education and cuts to other public services.
We have been endeavouring to let normal timetabled lectures continue, however these were relocated despite our wishes. So that education could continue, we arranged alternative lectures by inviting lecturers from Newcastle and Northumbria Universities to give talks and workshops. We regret the disruption caused by the University in response to our occupation. This has been a large factor in our decision to end the occupation and allow Fine Art students to finish the year uninterrupted.
The vote on Thursday and the end of the Occupation is not the end of the struggle to defend education. Our fight will continue.
We had no voice and we have found one and we will not be silenced.