On the third of December 2014, police officers were called to Warwick campus by university management and unlawfully attacked peaceful protesters. Today, following a “Cops off Campus” protest, hundreds of Warwick students occupied a university space to discuss police forces on campus and the state of our higher education system. After an open dialogue we agreed on this list of demands:
To the University of Warwick management:
We demand that Warwick University release a statement about the incidents which occurred yesterday, in which they declare their total support to Warwick students.
- The university must support any student affected by yesterday’s events who wish to take legal action against the police as it falls under their duty of care.
- The University and Nigel Thrift must retract their statement about the alleged assault which has been refuted by witnesses; unless they can prove otherwise.
- The University must fund an independent investigation to shed light on what actually happened.
- The University must condemn the unjustified and disproportionate violence used against students.
- The University must support the right to protest and condemn any form of state violence including the use of CS gas and tasers on our campus.
- We demand a written code of conduct for governing the actions of security on campus. This must be made in consultation with, and available to, all students.
- We demand that the conditions preventing those from participating in Warwick campus activities be lifted and an apology written to all those affected. The right to demonstrate peacefully should not be criminalised.
We would like an adequate response from the university by January the sixth 2015.
To West Midlands Police:
We also demand an apology from West Midlands Police for their unlawful use of force against a group of peaceful students and all bail conditions to be lifted.
We wanted to also highlight the conversations that were had when we were inside the occupation. We recognise that the police brutality is situated in a continuous move to privatise our education. Education is a right, not a privilege and the commodification of our education must be stopped. Whilst we are viewed as consumers and not students, the higher education institution will continue to further marginalise and oppress those within and outside the university.
- Therefore, we ask that Nigel Thrift and the University management pledge their commitment to free education as a right for all, and for Nigel Thrift to stop advocating for £16,000 fees.
- Warwick University must also work with students and communities who are suffering from racism, classism, sexism, ableism, heteronormativity, transphobia and all systems of oppression to increase and widen participation of all people in higher education. In practical terms this includes (but is not limited to) opposing the scrapping of the disability student allowance; creating more scholarships and bursaries; waiving fees and providing funding for refugees and asylum seekers; and creating fairer working conditions for workers on campus.
- The University must lower the costs of being a student here, especially in terms of extortionate food, accommodation, Warwick Sport and other living costs.
- We are concerned by the continuing corporate partnerships which are increasingly gaining voice, visibility and control on our campus, whilst at the same time student voices are being silenced. Therefore we demand complete transparency in terms of the corporate interests that are invested in our education, and for Warwick to publish this information. We want to know where the money flows and whose interests are being represented. Corporations’ or students’?
We thank all those who came out to the demonstration today and the students standing in solidarity with us at other universities, both in terms of demonstration and occupation.
We stand in solidarity with all those around the world, refusing to be silenced, resisting police brutality, and resisting state violence.
The students occupying the top floor of the Rootes building, Warwick Campus.