Further to the Vice-Chancellor’s report on Friday 2 December 2016 regarding the students staging an occupation in the Slate, we can provide the following update.
Stuart spoke to representatives of the protestors on Friday to seek to address the points they had raised:
- The students shared their concerns about what they see as the marketisation of higher education. Stuart noted that those concerns are shared by a range of staff and students, not just at Warwick, but across our sector. However, he was concerned that this risk of marketization of our sector came not from the Teaching Excellence Framework but from other parts of the current Higher Education and Research Bill. He urged them to focus their concerns on the rest of the HE&R Bill if the potential for marketisation was their primary concern.
- On the concerns in regard to the payment arrangements for sessional teaching, Stuart assured the protestors that the University had consulted widely with students and staff on this issue and had undertaken to have fully reviewed and to resolve all outstanding issues in this area by the end of the academic year.
- The protestors' concerns also reference the events surrounding the occupation of Senate House in 2014, and the subsequent discussions about the approach to protest on campus. Stuart was able to tell the protestors that he had in fact had very positive and constructive conversations with the Students’ Union on these issues. This had led to the drawing up of a mutually-agreed way forward on those matters. The SU and the University had already agreed to meet again on 11 January to finalise the details of this plan.
Following this discussion Stuart said,
I hope that I was able to assure the protestors that all the issues they raise are being carefully considered and worked on by a range of staff and students on campus that have worked together to address these issues; but I do hear the call for increased urgency."
A small group of students continue to occupy the Slate. We have asked them to vacate today (Monday 5 December 2016), because there is a Christmas event planned in the venue on Tuesday lunchtime for 300 students and there is no appropriate alternative venue we can provide. Stuart has asked the SU for their support in making this request.
Director, People Group
Monday 5 December 2016