Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Record of negotiations

On Wednesday 21st January we issued a press statement outlining our demands. The next day we received a two-page sympathetic but very vague and non-committal response from the vice-chancellor's office. We responded the next morning (Friday) with a short, courteous, and equally vague letter. The university did not feel that they needed to respond to this, so we spent the weekend doing some more research, and on Sunday 25th sent a second response to the V-C's office, with some concrete proposals based on what they had said they were willing/able to do. On Monday 26th we received a draft agreement from the V-C's office agreeing to most of our demands and with a revised proposed statement. We felt that the concessions made in this response were excellent and many felt it to be a victory. However, although the document had been received along with strong verbal assurances from the university management that the proposals would be carried out in the spirit of the occupation's principles, some felt the wording to be too vague. At the general meeting that evening we considered the document in depth and made a few minor clarifications in order to ensure that this would be the case. On Tuesday morning, the university rejected our proposals and issued us with an ultimatum to vacate the lecture theatre by 9am otherwise negotiations would end. We were surprised by the severity of this response as the university had acknowledged our amendments to be minor. We did not vacate, and held an emergency meeting at 11am with 50 people in attendence. We sent a brief letter informing the university that a decision would be made at the general meeting that evening. Discussions continued throughout the day. At the general meeting that evening we discussed the response in depth and decided unanimously to accept the agreement without our final clarifications along with the verbal assurances of the V-C. The occupation was ended at 9:30pm on Tuesday 27th and a press release issued.

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