A small group of individuals we understand to be University of Warwick students are currently staging an occupation in one of our campus conference venues which is currently being finalised for public use. They have made a statement setting out their principles for doing this, which include to protest against the marketisation of higher education, to protest against casualisation of staff and to campaign to lift the injunction that was put in place following the protests of December 2014.
It is a fundamental principle of the University that freedom of speech within the law should be respected in all our premises and reflected in all our activities. All members of our community have a right to protest peacefully as appropriate and within the law, but we also have a number of democratic and representative forums where students and staff are actively engaged in our institutional decision-making and where they are able to freely express their views.
I have been to speak to the students to discuss their concerns, which as staff and students will be aware, are issues of national debate and about which many of us at Warwick have strong views. We began a process with the Students’ Union earlier this term to consider how we work together to ensure that the campus remains a safe space for debate and dissension.
The students did not agree to meet with me directly, but I have been able to speak with representatives of those occupying the space. We will continue to seek to engage with them in order to agree a peaceful conclusion to their occupation. Mike Glover, Academic Registrar, is speaking to the students to ensure their welfare whilst this situation is underway.
Friday 2 December 2016