For immediate release: Thursday 8th December 2011
Royal Holloway occupation ends as management threaten High Court action
Today at 1220 hours GMT, the student sit-in going under the name ‘OccupyRHUL’ left the senior management corridor of Royal Holloway, University of London (RHUL) after 8 days of occupation. The senior management team (SMT) threatened High Court action to get a possession order and injunction against the protest.
The group left citing a breakdown in negotiations, saying they felt they had been forced out by SMT’s decision to take legal action rather than enter into meaningful negotiations over the occupiers’ concerns and demands. The demands of the occupiers included halting cuts to courses and departments, condemning the HE white paper, and halting the entrance of for-profit providers into the university. Occupiers also demanded that Royal Holloway Principal, Professor Layzell, withdraw Section 188 notices and redundancy threats.
There has been widespread support for the sit-in amongst the academic community and staff at Royal Holloway and beyond. The occupation has exposed widespread discontent with the senior management team at RHUL and their priorities for the future of the university.
“The Principal has said he’s had hours and hours of discussion with us; in actual fact it was only two hours. He failed to engage the issues, instead just stating where we agree and disagree. The support we’ve received from lecturers has been immense.”
Another student said, “There is no justification for the redundancy threats. There has been no economic or business case put forward and there has been no market research into the restructuring.”
“The HE white paper poses serious threats to the university sector. In these uncertain times university Principals and Vice-Chancellors all over the country are vacillating, yet Paul Layzell seems keen to be a poster boy and flag-bearer for the white paper.”
The occupiers say this is the beginning, and not the end, of a campaign around the issues of course cuts, redundancies and the white paper. They say they will be utilising the galvanised support of students and lecturers in future actions.
Notes for Editors
. Over 100 students and staff have taken part in the occupation over the course of the week
. Further information can be found at occupyrhul.blogspot.com
. Pictures and interviewees available
. Royal Holloway, University of London, has announced tuition fees of £9,000
Name: Craig Gent Tel: 07824 331240
Royal Holloway, University of London