Saturday, 25 December 2010

Christmas Day in Kent

It is Christmas Day and students of the University of Kent are still in occupation. 

Their University is waging Psychological warfare against them, preventing them speaking to their families on Christmas Day, turning off the heating during the worst December for a century.

This is the email off Kent Uni Website to reach the Vice Chancellor to complain about their treatment: J.H.Datlen@kent.ac.uk

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Plan for the New Year

Wed 5 Jan: Tyne and Wear COR planning meeting

Wed 12 Jan: lobby of Newcastle Council over cuts, called by Unison

Thurs 13 Jan: Newcastle Occupation Meeting, St John's Church Hall, Newcastle (more details when available)

Sat 22nd Jan: NCAFC National conference, UCL, 12-6pm

Wed 26th Jan - National Walkout for EMA

Sat 29 Jan: TUC/UCU/NUS demonstration for youth and education, Manchester (also london) (transport?)

Sun 30th Jan - National Student Assembly in London

Sat 5 Feb: Northern TUC anti-cuts seminar then public rally, Newcastle

Sat 5th Feb - The EDL are marching in Luton. The EDL have come out and said that they will organise EDL counter demos against students protesting against education cuts. This makes it even more important that students and workers stand side by side with Muslims facing attacks from racists and fascists. We can't let ourselves be divided. EAN and NCAFC support the anti-fascist counter demo


Sat 26 March: TUC march in London 

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Food donations

Thanks to everyone who donated food to the occupation. As well as being hugely helpful in a practical way, food donations also gave a great morale boost. Not all of the food that was donated was eaten, so we gave the remains to the East Area Asylum Seekers Support Group, better known as Common Ground.

This is just the beginning

So the occupation has come to an end, but the fight is just starting. So everyone come down to the Star and Shadow, Byker on Wednesday 6pm.

This is just the beginning.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Post Occupation carnival/march

To celebrate our occupation, tomorrow (Sunday) we're having a carnival/march down to Monument. We'd love all those who have supported the occupation to come down for what should be an enjoyable event. Gather 1.30 outside the occupied space, head off at 2pm. Details here.

:-)

Friday, 10 December 2010

PRESS RELEASE - This is only the beginning

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.

Denial of basic human rights

In a clear denial of our basic human rights, Newcastle University management has stopped food and water entering the occupation. Please publicise this disgraceful behavior in order to hold them to account.

Letter from Newcastle University solicitors

Update on todays actions

So far, we have been able to get 3 more people back in who left early this morning and spirits are high.
We have just had the Police round (don't worry we called them) as the Head of Security, George Westwater stole our d lock.

They also have wedged shut our only fire escape. But other than that we're fine.

Rally at 12pm today, get down here and show your support!

Love you all

Newcastle Occupation

The Letter from the University

A letter demanding that we leave the occupation

Members of the Newcastle University Occupation has been handed a letter demanding that the occupation ends at 12 noon today (10th December 2010). The letter cites the ‘disruption’ we have caused as well as supposed illness amongst members of the occupation.
The occupation would like to reiterate that we have never sought to disrupt the normal activity of the university. The letter recognises this but fails to acknowledge the disruption caused by university management, as they have relocated lectures – sometimes against the will of those teaching them. We would also like to highlight and express our gratitude to the many lecturers, members of staff and students who have supported the occupation so far.
As for illness, the favourable relationship with security has until now meant that anybody who has been in the occupation has been here through their own free will and there has been no compulsion to stay.
We call on everyone who supports the occupation to rally outside the Fine Art building of Newcastle University at 12 noon today.

Action at Tyne Bridge, Thursday evening

This evening the bill raising tuition fees to £9000 was passed by the House of Commons by a majority of 21. While many broadcasters portrayed this as some sort of success in the reduction of the coalition majority we here felt it was a further illustration of the failure of our system of governance to take our legitimate concerns seriously, and refusal to give us a proper voice. For that reason this evening we decided to respond. That is why (as reported by ITV Tyne Tees this evening), from 19:00 to 19:15, we stood and blocked traffic across the Tyne Bridge, first across all lanes, to make our point, however after a couple of minutes we withdrew to the middle two lanes, allowing traffic to flow more slowly, as it was not our agenda to cause excessive disruption to the lives of blameless people. We wore tape over our mouths to represent how our voice was silenced by Parliament’s decision. We feel this action shows that we are not willing to just fade into the background, and we will not stop just because the fee rise has gone through. We also wish to point out that our protests are not simply about a rise in fees but a broader attack on education which will see up to 80% cuts to arts, social sciences and humanities which provide the resources of social theory, critical thinking and creativity which are essential to our societal wellbeing and functional democracy.

Overall the message we wished to send to the Government was that, even though this bill is passed, this is not the end. In fact it is only the beginning…

Thursday, 9 December 2010

PRESS RELEASE - Day X3 Action

Today has seen widespread protests across the country, the majority of which have been peaceful. The protest held in Newcastle today, which was organized with help of members of Newcastle Occupation, saw 2000 students from 6th forms, FE colleges and Newcastle and Northumbria Universities march peacefully through Newcastle city centre.

Crowds gathered at 12pm at Monument and then marched around the city till the rally at Civic Centre at 5pm. The rally saw trade union members come together with students for an open mic with speakers from the UCU and members of Newcastle Occupation as well as trade unionists and members of the public.

During the march, 20 members of the Occupation entered a meeting where the Chris Brink, the vice chancellor of Newcastle University was present. This was as a direct result of the vice chancellors refusal to meet with the members of Newcastle Occupation. 

Speech Given at Rally Outside Civc Centre Today

Before the 10th November the Students had no voice, we had been let down by our elected student union leaders, let down by the Governors of our Universities and let down by all political parties as they commoditize our education.

This afternoon the House Commons they are debating over the rise in tuition fees. But this is not the end, merely the beginning.

On the 24th November a group of students occupied a Newcastle University Fine Arts Lecture Theatre. We have been living in the cold, striving to get our voices heard. During the past few weeks we have been planning and enacting peaceful direct action in an effort to make a difference to future students and the lives of all. This affects our children, our brothers and sisters, and our friends. This affects the future leaders, doctors, lawyers, actors, journalists, artists, scientists, and politicians. This affects everyone and we must do what we can to stop this unnecessary attack on education.

The student movement recognises that the cuts imposed by the Government affect all other public services. We call on everyone to join the campaign, to forge links to create a strong anti-cuts movement. Students and Workers united.

To slash funding to the public services is a step backwards. To a time when we had to save our pennies in case we got ill, when people were stuck in poverty for generations. While the poor get poorer, the rich get richer.

David Cameron says "We are all in this together"; its time to reclaim this slogan, this is the message we take back to our schools, universities and workplaces. We are all in this together and we will fight together.

You are here today to make your voice heard, together with students, lecturers, union representatives and members of the public from across the region.

We had no voice and now we have found one. We will not be silenced.

More Photos From Newcastle Protest

All Photos Steven Lee




New Photos from Protest

All Photos Steven Lee





Live Update from Newcastle Protest

At 12pm students, lecturers and members of the public met at Monument in Newcastle for a march around the City Centre. The march veered towards the Tyne Bridge away from Police. Police stopped the march at the beginning of Tyne bridge and it diverted towards other bridges over the Tyne. The march was pushed back and returned towards Monument.

At the same time, Newcastle Occupiers stormed a meeting between the Vice Chancellor and staff. After causing large disruption they are now sitting peacefully in the meeting, still waiting for the Vice Chancellor to answer the demands of the Occupiers.

Meanwhile the main body of the protest attempted to enter the Civic Centre and were repelled by a large body of Police who were joined by Police on horseback. The march continues around Newcastle City Centre in a rolling kettle.

PHOTOS FROM CURRENT PROTEST

All Photos Steven Lee










Newcastle students in London for todays demo

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Newcastle Occupation Article from The Times


It’s Day 15 of the occupation at Newcastle University. For the past fortnight, a lecture theatre and rooms in the fine arts building have played host to a colony of student activists.The lecture theatre resembles something akin to the headquarters of a military operation. Laptops, smartphones and other devices compete for power sockets.
Jon Clark, 22, is a final-year music student from Somerset. “This isn’t a holiday,” he says. There are meetings to attend, blog entries to write, journalists to contact and other occupations to liaise with. Then there are photographs to take, videos to film, as well as general housekeeping.
“The important thing is our message is getting out. So whether someone chooses to label that as a publicity stunt or students having fun is immaterial,” he says.
Emily Elliott, 20, a feminist society member, was brought up in the Netherlands by British parents and is in the final year of a politics degree. She voted for the Liberal Democrats in May. “It was a tactical vote. I didn’t want the Tories getting in. I don’t believe any of the parties represent me.” She says that she is disappointed but not surprised.
Just after 8am the first meeting of the day begins. Students begin brainstorming ideas for a new rally to coincide with today’s Commons vote. The absence of any raised voices makes the session straightforward to chair.
“This is only the beginning,” says Mr Clark. “It’s about saying we’re not OK with this and that politicians are answerable to the people. The Bill may go through, but with a lot less public support than it could have done. It’s about making that clear. I think we’ve done that. And it isn’t over yet.”

Thursday 9th December

Tomorrow, Parliament will be voting on the raising of tuition fees. Therefore students have called for mass demonstrations up and down the country to make our voices heard on this vital issue. The vote is teetering on the edge of being defeated, let's push it over!

The Newcastle University Occupation hosted a General Assembly of a broad range of school students, 6th formers, university students, political groups and trade unionists. The following actions were agreed upon and we call on everyone to get involved in this important day of action:

-Meet at 12 noon at Monument for a march and rally.
-There will also be a rally at the Civic centre at 5pm.

We call on trades unions to support this student action.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Statement on todays action at Newcastle Civic Centre

After the highly successful sit in at Newcastle Civic Centre, Newcastle Occupation are please to report that David Faulkner, Leader of Newcastle City Council has reiterated his opposition to rises in tuition fees.

The peaceful protest, which lasted 2 ½ hours, has secured the support of Newcastle City Council and David Faulkner has pledged his personal support with lobbying Liberal Democrat MPs.

The aim of the sit in at the Civic Centre was to an attempt to influence the Lib Dem councilors to urge their parliamentary colleagues to vote against the rise in tuition fees on Thursday. The following statement was released when the occupation commenced.

We are occupying this building to give voice to the people let down by their government.

People let down by
·      attacks on education.
·      attacks on public services.
·      attacks on the welfare state.

People like you, who within this building will be let down have been let down by the forthcoming redundancies.

We call on MPs to reject the Further and Higher Education (Access) Bill 2010-11 and for Liberal Democrat councillors to lobby their MPs to vote against the rise in tuition fees on Thursday.

We call on MPs to reject the Comprehensive Spending review and the Government plans for education, public services and the welfare state.

We call on all councillors, students and members of the public to support our actions and show that we are united in defending our way of life.

In occupying Newcastle Civic Centre, we also wished to voice our concern over the cuts to all public services and the welfare state. Newcastle City Council will face a 7.25% real term loss each year as a result of the cuts, with 1000 people facing redundancy immanently, but rising to 2000 over the next 4 years.

We are occupying this building to give voice to the people let down by their government.

We have found our voice and we will not be silenced.

A member of the occupation will be interviewed with David Faulkner tomorrow morning on BBC Radio Newcastle.


A recent message of Solidarity

"NCL Occupation, all, I write this not as the editor of TNC but simply as a plastic geordie and student. You have not failed yet to make me sit back and wipe tears away from my eyes at the work you have been doing.


You are not just an example of how student's should protest today but how we as students should conduct ourselves. Few have been following your example, Falmouth and Edinburgh to name two, and this movement is bigger and better because of it.

Many things will happen on the 9th but one thing is sure if everyone has the same level headed, committment, and drive that you have shown then this battle can be won.

There are not enough words to describe how much I love and respect you all for what you have done. Few people get to do great things and even fewer people get to inspire. These past few weeks NCL you have done both, and more!

I have never been more proud to be a student than now!"

A message to Vince Cable from one of the Occupiers

To Vince Cable


In response to your quote:

""The road to Westminster is covered in the skid marks of political parties changing direction,"


We are here on the streets, we are in your Constituency Offices, we are in your Council Chambers. We can smell the burning rubber and it stinks. This is not a change of direction but a complete U-turn.  We opened the roads to Westminister for your party and we will usher you out.


Student

Photos of Triumphant Newcastle Occupiers leaving Council Chamber sit in.



Photos Steven Lee

Latest Photo From Outside Occupation

David Faulkner Leader of Newcastle Council being interviewed outside Civic Centre Occupation.

Photo Steven Lee

Email to Liberal Democrat Councillors at Newcastle Civic Centre


Dear Councillors

We have entered the Civic Centre today in peaceful protest against the bill that is being proposed in Parliament on Thursday 9th December. This bill proposes a rise in tuition fees and if implemented will be the cause of the exclusion of many poorer students from higher education. We believe that a right to a good education should be in no way connected to one’s financial situation. To turn education into a commodity in this way is to devalue its true worth.

We believe that as Newcastle City Councillors you have a crucial role to play in the rejection of these policies. Today we urge you to join us in protest by publicly voicing your opposition to any rise in tuition fees, cuts to education or public services. We have drafted a statement that we would like you to sign in support of our cause.
As a Liberal Democrat councillor we urge you to send the following message to your parliamentary colleagues.

We urge MPs from our party to stand by their election pledges, which we as prominent members of the Liberal Democrats campaigned on in the previous election. Specifically we call on Liberal Democrat MPs to stand by our policy of campaigning against any rise in tuition fees by voting against the rise in tuition fees on Thursday 9th December. We feel that our party does not have a mandate to enact these drastic changes to education, given our position at the general election.

We urge you to place principle before the politics of Westminster.

Yours faithfully

The Members of Newcastle Occupation

Statement to Newcastle City Council

We are occupying this building to give voice to the people let down by their government.

People let down by
  • attacks on education.
  • attacks on public services.
  • attacks on the welfare state.
People like you, who within this building will be let down have been let down by the forthcoming redundancies.

We call on MPs to reject the Further and Higher Education (Access) Bill 2010-11 and for Liberal Democrat councillors to lobby their MPs to vote against the rise in tuition fees on Thursday.

We call on MPs to reject the Comprehensive Spending review and the Government plans for education, public services and the welfare state.

We call on all councillors, students and members of the public to support our actions and show that we are united in defending our way of life.

PHOTOS FROM COUNCIL CHAMBER SIT IN



All Photos Steven Lee


 Photos taken 30 minutes ago in the Main Council Chambers of the Newcastle Civic Centre.

Press statement in previous blog post.

CIVIC CENTRE SIT IN HAPPENING NOW!

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE USE

This afternoon, university and college students have occupied the main council chamber of Newcastle Civic Centre. This is in protest of the people who have been let down by the government. We are here for the people who have been let down by attacks on education, public services and the welfare state.

We are also taking this opportunity to urge Liberal Democrat councillors to lobby their MPs to vote against the rise in tuition fees on Thursday and to oppose the Higher and Further Education (Access) Bill 2010 – 11. We urge Liberal Democrat MPs to stand by their election pledges. By retracting these pledges they no longer have a mandate to govern.

In occupying Newcastle Civic Centre, we also wish to voice our concern over the cuts to all public services and the welfare state. Newcastle City Council will face a 7.25% real term loss each year as a result of the cuts, with 1000 people facing redundancy immanently, but rising to 2000 over the next 4 years.

We are occupying this building to give voice to the people let down by their government.

We have found our voice and we will not be silenced.

NOTES FOR EDITOR


END

Monday, 6 December 2010

Mr. Billy Bragg

Funeral for Education

A sombre procession starting at 11 on Monday at Newcastle student union and continuing throughout Newcastle remembering our teacher, our supporter and our friend Education.

Yes education sadly has a terminal illness brought on by the horrible disease "Mismanagement" the symptoms of which include The Browne Review, the comprehensive spending review and the con-dem Government and so Education will soon be leaving us, it is Educations wish that we hold the funeral so they can say goodbye themselves to all their loved ones. It's a very sad situation indeed, no-one can imagine their life without Education and they will be sadly missed. 







Sunday, 5 December 2010

From the head of Newcastle City Council

Occupiers – thank you for the statement of demands, some of which look remarkably similar to those voiced when I took part in an occupation of the administration building at York University in 1968.

David Faulkner

A message from a lecturer

Taking part in your alternative lectures programme was one of the most rewarding experiences of my academic career. Your just and worthwhile stand is not for yourselves, but for the future of English higher education. Newcastle University should be proud of having such disciplined and selfless people among its students; I certainly am.

Claire Brewster
Lecturer in Latin American History
Newcastle University

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Inside the Newcastle student occupation

Steve Brown, from Labour Representation Committee (LRC) in the North East, wrote this about his visit to the Newcastle student occupation:

'I found myself stuck in Newcastle on Monday night due to the cancellation of the buses, and took the opportunity to walk over to the fine arts building at the University to see how the students were getting on in their occupation and asked if there was any other support that they might need.

As I arrived I found them (60+ students) in a full meeting in the lecture theatre making plans for the demonstration the following day. Imagine attending a union meeting where everyone, all 60+, had a full roll to play, are fully geared up to perform several tasks and are completely absorbed and focussed upon getting as organised as possible.

The students have an elected facilitator who was at the front making bullet points on a white board and there was a full size projection (10 feet high) of a laptop where another student was taking notes and updating social networking sites as the meeting progressed. All the deliberations were completely democratic; everyone spoke in turn and were respectful of each others views.

All were very sensitive to each other's contributions and all listened carefully to what was being said in case they missed any important comments. As the meeting progressed the details of the following day emerged as representatives from several 6th form colleges chipped in on how to mobilise their own students, to get them in from the areas. The use of technology was massively evident with wireless networks and many armed with laptops; along with banner making sessions, leaflet and publicity sub groups, some breaking off to liaise with the police, talk to the press, organise stewarding and tackle any emerging problems as they arose.

This answers any myths that our youth are unruly and unfocussed, are not politically engaged or conscious and don’t know how to conduct themselves in an organised fashion. They are an inspiration to us all!

As with all such occupations (the last one I attended was in 1983 at the Howden Water Works) the facilities were frugal with sleeping bags and an improvised food preparation area. Spirits are high however, with revolutionary sing-songs and no evidence of alcohol present. Support has been forthcoming from fellow none-occupation students and other supporters with a delivery, while I was there, of 60 pizzas, and other supplies.

They are well dug in with even the security guards, that the college have deployed, being behind them and sympathetic to their plight and the future of youth in general. One guard commented, "I've got a cousin with a kid going to college soon and I don't see how it's going to happen. Who can blame these kids for doing what they are doing!”.

The students are adamant they will stay for as long as it takes, are absolutely right in what they are doing, and should be invited to speak at as many meetings of the Public Services Alliance and union meetings as possible. The bridges need to be built between them and the wider TU and Labour movement. We ignore this at our peril!

I would encourage all to visit them as they are keen to get as much support as possible. If you do go, take along some food or drink to help them out, take along messages of support too from your unions or local Labour Parties.'

Reproduced from http://luna17activist.blogspot.com/2010/12/inside-newcastle-student-occupation.html

Newcastle March 30/11/10

GENERAL ASSEMBLY 5/12/10

Friday, 3 December 2010

Press Release - More Action In King's Gate

Today, members of the Newcastle University Student Occupation took part in further protests against proposed cuts to higher and further education in the Kings Gate building of Newcastle University.

The peaceful action took place in the form of a stunt in which nine thousand flyers were distributed around the building whilst a student in a fat-cat costume scrabbled around on the floor after them.

The flyers took the form of £1 banknotes bearing the face of the Vice Chancellor, Chris Brink, symbolising the estimated new cap on tuition fees.

Once again, the protest ended after threats of disciplinary action.

Biomedical sciences student Mae Gomersall explains the significance of the protest:
“The fat-cat chasing the money symbolizes how we as students feel we and our money are being treated. So far we have found it hard to make our voices heard and non-violent direct action is our way of drawing attention to the cause. More will follow.”














PRESS RELEASE - Statement made by Chris Brink, VC of Newcastle University


“The University is not a business and education is not for sale” – Chris Brinks, Vice Chancellor of Newcastle University

Chris Brink, Vice Chancellor of Newcastle University addressed students yesterday at Student Union Council, in response to the direct pressure placed on him by Newcastle students currently occupying the Fine Arts Building.

The Vice Chancellor took this rare opportunity to meet students to reaffirm his commitment the equality within the education system and the importance that education plays not only in our country but also the UK’s position on the world stage. He argued that he was not in a position to condemn the findings of the Browne review or the proposed cuts to higher education which will be voted on in Parliament on the 9th December as the university is not a political organization and cannot be seen to attempt to influence the Parliamentary process.

However, the Vice Chancellor has made an overtly political statement publicly in his latest press release. In this statement he directly references points made at a previous meeting where he said “This will be the only major country in the world where the state is consciously and deliberately disinvesting from higher education” and that “The University is not a business and education is not for sale”. Yet he also states that “It is not inconceivable that the political process may still lead to some compromises” and that “The University accepts that reality, and is confident that it will continue to deliver on the objectives”.

The Vice Chancellor is not only aware of the damage that will be caused to higher education by the cuts, but has also publicly denounced them, yet he continued to support the actions of this government despite his own statements and the voices of the students and lectures who oppose the cuts.

The Vice Chancellor's Statement



After yesterday's poor showing by the Vice Chancellor at Student Council he has released the following statement . As in our statement, he proves that he cares about education, but is not willing to fight for its future.


http://www.ncl.ac.uk/press.office/newslink/editions/print/03/December/2010/14?show=all



He said “The University is not a business and education is not for sale.” (25th October 2010 The Courier)


Time and time again since that statement he has proved that he does not believe that.


You can target your disgust at this email address. chris.brink@newcastle.ac.uk

Chris Brink VC Newcastle University "The University is not a business and education is not for sale.”

On Wednesday 2nd December, Chris Brink Vice Chancellor of Newcastle University attended Student Union Council where he made a statement to the attending students and then took questions regarding tuition fees and cuts to education.

We welcome this public address and thank him for finally engaging with students on this issue, in response to the direct pressure placed upon him by Newcastle Students in Occupation of the Fine Arts Building (Chris Brink 2nd December).

In this address he stated his belief in equality within education and the importance that education plays in maintaining the United Kingdom’s position on the world stage. He also expressed a concern that an increase in tuition fees would deter poorer students from attending University. This, along with the recognition of the inaccessibility that asylum seekers and refugees face in attempting to gain higher access to education, was encouraging. However we were disappointed by Chris Brink’s lack of commitment to act against the proposed plans for education.

We understand the argument that the University is not a political organisation and therefore can not be seen to directly influence votes in Parliament. However, Vice Chancellor Chris Brink and the University have already made a number of political statements which lead us to believe there may be other motives behind their reluctance to speak out.
  • Supporting the Browne Review describing it as a “necessity”. (The Courier 25th October 2010)
  • On 25th October 2010, Chris Brink sent an email to every student in the University “In particular, we remain committed to our objectives regarding widening participation and fair access.” This email is in direct contrast to his public statement last night where he admitted and expressed concern that the increase in tuition fees would deter poorer students.
  • On May 29th 2009 the University while under the stewardship of Chris Brink released the following political statement.
“We believe that the vast majority of UK citizens have great sympathy for the people suffering in Gaza, Israel and elsewhere in the conflict zones of the world.  We support the call made by Universities UK for an end to the conflict in and beyond Gaza.”

Furthermore in the current political environment Chris Brink’s refusal to release a statement encouraging MPs to vote against tuition fees and cuts that he himself has described last night as damaging to wider participation is in itself a political act. Chris Brink clearly believes in education but is not willing to fight for it.

Chris Brink’s claim that other Vice Chancellors have not spoken out is untrue. The demands of this occupation call for him to follow other University managements in speaking out. His refusal to do this suggests that his interests do not match our own and his actions are in fact politically motivated. (www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/nov/22/tuition-fees-higher-education)

In light of these facts, we call for Chris Brink to visit the Occupation to discuss our demands.

You said “The University is not a business and education is not for sale.” (25th October 2010 The Courier)

It is time for you to prove it.

Newcastle Occupation gets the clippers out!

A punk wave swept through the Fine Arts Lecture theatre last night as the clippers came out and shaped the hair of the brave and the stupid!





Plan for 3rd December

9:00 - 10:00 Music Seminars Globalisation


10:00 - 15:00 Reduce, Recycle, Reuse Clothes Making



13:00 – 14:00 The Credit Crunch, Recession and Austerity: There is an alternative - Andy Mullen
14:00 - 15:00 Researching our Movement
15:00 - 16:00 Shakespeare vs The BNP - Guest Lecturer from Northumbria
17:00 - Onwards Reduce, Recycle, Reuse Fashion Show
19:00 Tea from MEDSIN

See you all tomorrow...

Thursday, 2 December 2010

PRESS RELEASE - NUS members denied entry to Occupation

Today, is the 9th consecutive day of occupation of the Fine Arts building of Newcastle University, management have denied senior NUS members access to the occupation. The NUS who support this action and others around the country are our union representatives. One member of the NUS delegation was Pete Mercer, a member of the NUS National Executive Committee tweets “Shame on management and security for restricting access”. Another member of the delegation tweets that “Newcastle University not allowing NUS in to give support to the occupation.”

So far the Vice Chancellor of Newcastle University, Chris Brink has refused to directly meet with members of the occupation as he claims that we do not represent the student body, however he is denying access to the very people who demonstrate that the occupation and our demands are representative of not only the student body, but of a huge section of society. We have had messages of support from Noam Chomsky, Chi Onwurah MP for Newcastle Central, the UCU, Unite, Unison and innumerable members of staff and students.

Tonight the Vice Chancellor is speaking at Union Council, which is a rare occurrence. A member of the occupation said, “This shows that we are starting to have an impact and that it can only be a matter of time until he meets with us directly”.

Events today!

Check the calendar on this blog to keep up to date with alternative lectures, events and workshops running all day every day in the occupied space.

General meeting today is at 1pm, all welcome.

Alternative lectures today include:

11am - The Politics of Africa
12pm - 1968: Student's in Mexico
1pm - General Meeting
2:30pm - a Lecture on Noise, with music department.
4pm - Reading Group: The Art of not being governed.
7pm - Meeting
9pm - Health inequalities seminar.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Press release- Students step up action against the cuts

On Wednesday, students at the week-long Newcastle University Occupation stepped up their action in the defence of education.
As well as staging a sit-in at the King’s Gate building on the university campus, which resulted in the finance building being temporarily closed, they submitted an application to the Department for Education to turn their occupied space into a free school.
This non-violent direct action – the latest in a series against education cuts and soaring tuition fees- was a response to the Vice Chancellor’s refusal to meet the occupiers as a group in the occupied fine art building of the university.
Fifteen students marched into the new complex, mouths covered with tape, and lay in a line across the foyer. This was where they remained for two hours despite requests from university management to leave the building, which had been shut down for the duration of the protest.
Masashi Stokoe, one of the students involved in the protest, said, “we haven’t been able to speak to the Vice Chancellor as a group democratically. He says we don’t represent student opinion but the wave of protests throughout the country recently suggest otherwise, besides which we’re supported by our democratically elected Student Union”.
The group had their mouths symbolically gagged, as one of the students, Emily Clark, explained, “to show that we feel that our voices aren’t being heard”.
Highlighting the peaceful nature of the demonstration, history student, Francesca Scott, commented, “the management were trying to suggest that we were disrupting the business of students, but it was management that shut the building down. Also, when they started talking about disciplinary procedures, I felt pretty intimidated. We have a right to peacefully protest”.
Meanwhile, the students at the occupation have submitted a request to become a free school under new government proposals.
Nick Lamb commented, “the government has said that anyone who want to set a up a school should be able to. With this occupation we are using this space to promote an alternative idea of education, so we have taken the government up on its offer and are trying to ensure that we can continue providing an alternative educational programme. We await the department for education’s response”.
Jon Clark, a music student who was involved in the sit down demonstration summed up the overall mood of the protesters; “We are showing the management that we take the defence of education seriously. The occupation is not a glorified sleep over – we are prepared to take action”.

We have nothing to hide

It looks like to us that the Head of Security is attempting to isolate and intimidate members of the Newcastle University Occupation, as seen in this photo.


We will not be isolated.
We will not be intimidated.
We have nothing to hide.