Vice Chancellor Nigel Thrift has already publicly lied about our protests. It comes as no surprise that he has continued with a smear campaign.
It is becoming hard to catalogue the extent and the blatant degree of these lies – amazingly, this latest statement even contradicts his first one on the specifics of security interaction with protestors on Wednesday night. Based on all evidence available and eye-witness accounts, we don’t think any assault happened. Even so, this alleged ‘assault’ was responded to by 8 police cars, one van, tasers, CS gas, police dogs and explicit violence towards 20 people. This is not responsible policing, regardless of context.
On Thursday a door was broken, yes. After the violence directed against actual living people on Wednesday, the breaking of one inanimate door seems insignificant. We were assaulted, gassed, threatened with tasers, and intimidated just for protesting, and university staff actively participated in and facilitated this violence. The videos speak for themselves. West Midlands police are investigating their own conduct and the students involved are exploring all possible legal avenues. University management don’t want you talking about the violence directed against students, they want you talking about a door.
The 1000 students who gathered on Thursday know that police and security violence is unacceptable. That demonstration was an unprecedented response to an unprecedented situation. The events of Wednesday have resulted in serious physical, emotional and psychological effects for those involved. If management genuinely cared about the student community they would be listening to and engaging with their demands rather than misrepresenting the facts and obsessing over a door.
A community is not just a campus populated by isolated individuals working and studying in the same place. A community is something more than a bit of jargon that university managers can trot out when they want to sound nice and friendly.
In our occupied space we have built a community, in which we have been recovering from the events of Wednesday, in which students from many backgrounds have come together to oppose violence against peaceful protestors. A community is a free education system where students aren’t indebted because they want to learn. A community is exactly the thing you, Nigel, with your soft words and management speak, are trying to supress. You earn your £332,000 a year from destroying a community: don’t try to turn that word back on us. We are legitimate and you know it.
We will be holding a memorial service for the damaged Senate House door in the occupation tonight. Meanwhile, the students assaulted, intimidated, and traumatised by security and police will carry on taking action until the university agree to our demands – things like a code of conduct for university security guards, and an apology for Nigel’s lies. Those demands can be found here: https://warwick4freeducation.wordpress.com/2014/12/04/warwick-university-occupation-demands-04122014/.
Let us end where we began – Thrift, stop lying and apologise.
Love and Solidarity,
The Occupiers xxx
P.S Feel free to come join us, we have open access! Just message the Facebook page and we will give you details.