Peaceful occupation evicted by Police midnight raid

The entirely peaceful student occupation of the Graduate Centre on the Holloway Road was raided tonight by 16 thugs, including private security guards, 10 bailiffs, 4 police officers and only ONE London Met Security guard, John Hunt.

They forced entry to deliver a high court injunction at about 11.55pm, which was ordered against 5 named individuals and Persons Unknown. It required the defendants to cease their current trespass, or they would be in breach of court and “could be arrested or imprisoned”.

This was massively initmidating and directly victimises students who face transfer to other universities as a result of the cuts. Students were only given 10 minutes to read the order and to leave the premises. The management had got the police involved to intimidate the students and threaten them with arrest, despite this being a civil matter and should not even be on site. The police told the student to “pack up and go” or be arrested.

The students had no time to prepare their defence, read the paperwork OR call lawyers. This is a disgrace and shows Malcolm Gillies (VC) is just as much of a thug as the sexist and racist individuals he has placed inside and outside the occupation, at an alleged cost of £35,000.

The eviction came as a surprise, as Malcolm Gillies had agreed to meet the students tomorrow morning at 9.30am to begin a dialogue about their futures. Clearly this was all false information and proves that his view of ‘consultation’ is that it is worthless. Tonight’s events illustrate how Gillies continues to cowardly refuse to communicate, even though his plans will devastate hundreds of lives.

Worried that they were about to be arrested, the students decided to leave the occupation peacefully, and now face having to find their ways home when public transport is closed.

The fight for our futures is now hanging in the balance. Please join us for a mass lobby of the Board of Governors on Wednesday at 4.30pm in Moorgate, to make a public protest to save London Met, and call for the resignation of Malcolm Gillies. This is disgraceful behaviour and such actions by Management should not be acceptable in a University environment.

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Lobby the London Met Board of Governors

Map

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NO MORE EXTERNAL THUGS – Only London Met Security on site.

We here in the occupation feel we should not have external security, as this is a London Metropolitan internal matter. We feel that the university has a sufficent amount of internal security staff to accomodate this peaceful protest. The reason we would like to make this known is because we have had several incidents of intimidation and hostility from external security staff hired. We also feel that the external security being hired is costing our university thousands of pounds, which is entirely unnecessary as we have been completely compliant and peaceful in our actions. Here following are quotes from occupiers and descriptions of events that have happened during the occupation.

“On the first two nights of the occupation a member of the external security staff played music constantly throughout the night.” Which disturbed our sleeping hours.

In the early hours of the morning a group of security guards ganged up on a female occupier, saying various intimidating things, one of which was “If I want to get through the door, I can. And two little girls aren’t going to stop me.” We feel this comment was sexist, intimidating and that occupiers should not have to deal with this type of verbal aggression and discrimination.

“At 8:30 this morning, the door was violently kicked several times, which caused major panic and disturbance in the occupation, as we immediately thought there was an emergency. We ran to the door and found the security were doing this for their own entertainment.” We also feel that this action, as well as causing distress and intimidation, could have caused damage to the university property.

“While within the timeframe of free access in and out, on Saturday, I was returning from the meeting at the Rocket. I showed my student ID to the external security staff in order to get back into the Occupation (as previously agreed). He responded by asking to see it again and as I went to show it, he snatched it from my hand and refused to give it back. I asked again and took it, which follwed in him threatening not to allow me access again.”

“External security have broken the agreement that they are not permitted within the space of the Occupation, by stepping in and taking down posters on the inside of the doors.”

We feel that the security is excessively aggressive when we have given no provocation. And would also like to hightlight the fact that we have agreed that only LondonMet students and staff would occupy the space; and the occupation should therefore only be dealt with directly by LondonMet security staff.

– OCCUPIERS, LondonMet

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Pics from the London Met Teach-In

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Open the books! We need clarity and transparency!

As we’ve already mentioned on this blog, it appears to make no financial sense to cut attractive and established courses out of the University’s academic portfolio. We demand transparency and clarification as to the financial basis for these decisions. This demand should be treated as a matter of urgency.

It has come to our attention that the build up to the decision was relatively complicated and largely down to the systematic mis-management by the (now) ex-Dean, Roddy Gallacher. His negligence of HALE’s finances has led to wide justification in cutting most of its courses, decimating it and effectively getting rid of the faculty altogether. We have become aware that there has been months of mis-management and neglect by Roddy Gallacher, who actually took early retirement just a few weeks ago. HALE is currently in the care of DASS’s Dean.

The mis-management of HALE by Prof Gallacher has been systematic and unchallenged for a long time. He never once issued budgets for courses, which left staff unaware of how expensive their courses were and whether they should ever have made savings. He gave everyone in the department the impression that everything was OK and that courses were not gonig to be cut. These lies are shameful and are now proving massively destructive as a result.

The VC must take responsibility for Gallacher’s actions. He cannot pass the buck, as he has overall responsibility for the finances and academic reputation of this institution. Being a man with an education in an Art (Music) and a Humanities (Classics) subject, he must stand up and protect these subjects, as a matter of priniciple. He must protect these subjects and not let London Met reject its diversity for a ‘no frills’ approach. If London Met scraps its diverse educational offer, it will cease to be an instution worthy of our collective pride and care. If Prof Gillies is ‘Proud to be London Met’, he must protect its strongest asset: diversity.

It is now time to answer some real questions. We need to have clarity and transparency as to why HALE faces such drastic cuts. Why did HALE allegedly cost the University £12m in internal admin costs, when other departments cost just half that amount? Where are these figures coming from, and are they real?

Staff have been told that the decision has already been made to end courses, and that the deadline to submit courses to UCAS for applicants wanting to study in 2011/12 has now ended. However, this has yet to be confirmed and it is our understanding that the deadline has not yet passed. If the deadline is not yet gone, the decision should be reversed.

Prof Malcolm Gillies, the Vice-Chancellor of London Met, must act now. If he delays any longer, the UCAS deadline may well pass us by. It is imperative that he over-rules the decisions taken by the ex-Dean Roddy Gallacher, and re-instate HALE as a significant and properly structured department. It is no good for him to pass the buck and shrug his shoulders saying, ‘it’s not my fault, I shouldn’t have to micro-manage the Dean’s responsibilities’. Yes, we agree, but in certain situations, Professor, you must take command and overturn certain decisions, especially when cuts such as these proposed do not have a clear financial basis and will decimate the University’s culture, reputation, educational offer and the lives of both staff and students.

It is our belief that it will prove to be massively short-sighted to axe such important and significant courses. You must not abide by the government’s imposed ‘rigid timeframe’ and make sure these cuts are stopped now. We demand you open the books and provide clarity and transparency in the financial proposals to cut so many Humanities, Arts, Languages and Education courses.

More info to follow – obviously this is a complicated situation.

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Full Length Occupation Song Midnight Performance

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First pictures from inside the occupation!!!

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