Monday, 5 December 2011

Response to Principal's request to leave

We believe that the principal’s decision that now “is a sensible time to conclude
the occupation” is untrue. Management have been uncooperative and stubborn
in both meetings and formal discourse (please see the Principal’s response this
morning on This is a real disappointment to the
Royal Holloway community, as we are all united by our desire to provide
excellent services and provoking thought to further ourselves as individuals.
Furthermore it is important to state that the decision to conclude is thoroughly in
the hands of the occupiers. We have collectively decided not to respond to
threats of legal action but to leave only when a suitable dialogue has been
achieved, bearing in mind that the occupation occurred as a result of a deficit in
meaningful discussion.
As previously stated, the claims of costs and student occupation numbers were
addressed in our Analysis of the Principal’s Response. This document is
available online at
If we don’t leave when asked by management, then the occupiers become
trespassers. We are not concerned by this development. Trespass is a civil, and
not criminal matter. Management would have to seek a court injunction to prove
they own the building, and this takes time.
Security can only remove us during trespass in order to prevent harm to others,
or intentional damage to property. Firstly, this is not occupation-specific, but their
right on all of campus (e.g. if there’s a fight after a club night). Also, we have a
well organised welfare team, a no drugs/drink policy, and are careful not to
damage anything.  They have no reasonable grounds to suspect harm to
others or to property.
In regards to the criminal case of aggravated trespass,  we are not interfering
with the lawful business in this corridor. We are allowing open access to
everyone to enter, leave, and to go about their lawful business. It is
management’s choice to reschedule or cancel meetings, we are happy for them
to continue here, as members of the UCU have also stated. Having sleeping
bags, banners, or music inside the corridor does not stop people from working, or
aim to do so – we want them to engage with us, and to carry on working if they
want to by allowing them access. We are friendly and open.
If an injunction does arrive, and we ignore it, we face criminal charges of
‘aggravated trespass’, and we could be escorted off the premises by bailiffs.
However, we have been clear that even in the event of an eviction, we demand
no victimisation of students. We already have pledges from the management not
to victimize us, the full support of the Students’ Union, many members of staff,
the UCU, and the wider local community, including trade unionists in Surrey
County Council.
We hope you will therefore withdraw your denial of our right to be here.

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