Friday, 23 January 2009

Update Thursday evening

A record number of students are spending the night in the occupied Arts A2 tonight (our third night of occupation). The general mood is of tiredness and relief following a mammoth organisational meeting which finished just half an hour ago, but spirits are high and we are all looking forward to getting on with things tomorrow. Thanks to everybody who has offered us snacks, skills, support etc. over the course of the day and to the security who have left the toilets unlocked for us.

We extend our solidarity to all the new university occupations that have taken place today: Manchester, Newcastle, Oxford (who have already been successful in achieving all of their demands!) and Leeds. The news came to us in rumours and confirmations throughout the day, often in the middle of long meetings or intense discussions, and made us all feel jubilant!

We discussed at length the response from the vice-chancellor's office that was received this afternoon. We are glad that the university management is now engaging with the occupation and have acknowledged the urgency of its cause but find the response to our demands vague and unsatisfactory. We have requested further specificity and depth.

We also received today several visitors to the occupation who came and spoke to us and offered their support, including Paul Cecil (UCU branch executive), a representative of Socialist Students, and some international comrades from Turkey. This evening we also had a live skype link-up with Serena, a comrade in Palestine and a student at Al-Quds university with which Sussex is twinned. She will be visiting Sussex next March as part of the Brighton-Tubas solidarity network and told us about some of the day to day realities of the events of recent weeks and the demonstrations in the West Bank.

Please come down and visit us if you haven't done so already! The support so far has been tremendous, but we are still eager to engage with the wider university community as much as possible and would love to hear your thoughts and ideas - whatever they are. Tomorrow we have another exiting and varied speaker session including talks and a poetry reading from members of the university faculty. We hope to see you there.

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