Sunday, 25 January 2009

Update Sunday evening

Well we've all been working really hard over the past week but I guess that we're still students at the end of the day: this morning we overslept our scheduled meeting time by 15 mins before somebody woke us up with Rage Against The Machine. We got stuck straight into our schedule, reviewing and finalising our response to the management and it was sent out to them this afternoon.

After a bit of lunch, the rest of the afternoon was taken up with organising in our working groups and catching up on all our jobs ready for tomorrow morning. A delegation attended the visiting conference of the model United Nations and were received with interest and enthusiasm. After a bit of feedback in the afternoon, we watched a dispatches documentary on the Israeli control of media coverage of the war on Gaza and then (after an awesome curry and surprise home-made apple pie) the rest of the evening was spent chilling out with some songs.

Its been an intense and pretty inspiring week with everybody working together to establish an accessible and organised occupation, not to mention all the solidarity and support that we have received, excellent educational talks, and the news of new university occupations around the country reaching us sometimes more than once a day and the feeling generally is one of positivity and strength.

We've got silent occupations of lectures for most of the day tomorrow and Tuesday so please do come along and sign up to the rota if you have an hour or two in your day. Then tomorrow evening at 7:00 we'll be hosting an open discussion on the question of boycott (point 3 of our demands) with invited speakers representing four different perspectives on the debate. We look forward to seeing you there!

BBC Glasgow Occupied

We have just had news that a group of 50-100 protesters have staged an occupation at BBC's headquarters in Glasgow in protest against their refusal to broadcast the DEC humanitarian aid for Gaza appeal. The occupiers are demanding to speak with a senior BBC representative and are refusing to leave until the BBC reverse their decision.

Sussex occupation would like to express their support for the campaign.

Monday's Timetable: Arts A2

8-9am: Wake Up & Tidy Up

9-12: Lectures in A2. Reps meet with with VC.

1-2pm: Discussion.

2-3: Lectures in A2.

3-4: Discussion.

4-7: Lectures in A2.

7-9: The Boycott Issue: Open debate, with a range of speakers.

9pm: Decision making meeting.

Sunday: Work carries on!

Press and Publicity groups meet

Five days in and still going strong, the occupiers are hard at work contacting press and other occupations across the UK.

Efforts are still being made to meet coursework deadlines!

Schedule for the rest of the day:

4:30pm Feedback from working groups

5:30pm Lunch

6:30pm Screening of Dispatches documentary: 'Unseen Gaza'.

Evening: Open Mic.

Sussex demands in solidarity with Palestine

Josh talks to us about the Sussex Occupation demands.

These are the videos of the National press conference for University Occupations in solidarity with Palestine. Two delegates from Sussex were sent off Thursday the 22nd of January to report to Al Jazeera, Press TV and different other media about the university occupation.
A successful press conference, which granted us excellent links with the King's College occupation (still ongoing) and the London School of Economics Occupation (that ended on the 21st of January).

Safer spaces policy

Our Occupation is a Safe Space

In writing this policy we acknowledge that the creation of a safe working environment for all will be conducive to our collective functioning and the practical application of our ideals and principles.

A safer spaces policy is not a list of rules to be enforced by punishments or exclusion. It is a mutual agreement to be taken on and considered by all group participants in order to facilitate the cooperative functioning and well-being of the group.

This occupation will be a space where people feel supported and respected by one another and motivated to work together cooperatively. Intimidation and discrimination will not be tolerated.

Our policy:

It is our objective to create an inclusive environment for all and to strive for full equality of participation. Personal feelings and individual well-being are integral to the effective organisation of the group and must be treated as such. Participants are asked to be aware of their language and behaviour, and to think about whether it might be offensive to others. There is no space for discrimination against others on any grounds, including but not exclusive to religion, gender, race, political perspective and/or affiliation, (dis)ability, sexuality.

We acknowledge that these sorts of discriminations are endemic and encourage participants to examine their own privileges and received prejudices to further their own learning and to open up avenues for all members of the group. Similarly, an effort to overcome our own expectations and assumptions of others as they are shaped by the above factors is of benefit to all.

Whilst we acknowledge that individual political and organisational experience is valuable to the group and should be put to constructive use, in the spirit of collectivity and equality all participants should be encouraged to contribute according to resources and volition.

Group meetings:

The democratic process can only function if participants feel able to express their opinions freely and have them met with respect and consideration. Group dynamics are important and affect the decision-making process, and how involved everyone feels within it. To this end we encourage self-regulation against such intimidatory behaviour as tutting; exasperated sighing; banging on tables; shouting; inflammatory language; speaking when others are, or speaking out of turn.

The facilitator reserves the right to prioritise people who have been quiet and newcomers over those who have spoken lots already. Any special needs of group participants will be accommodated by the group and by the facilitator. The facilitator has a special responsibility to reflect the safer space policy in their facilitation and is also protected by it.

Any individual has the right to register to the group if at any time the safer space policy has been violated in the knowledge that this will be immediately acknowledged and dealt with by the group or added to the agenda for consideration at a more appropriate time.

If anyone experiences behaviour that they feel violates these principles, volunteers from the welfare working group will be available to create dialogue-orientated resolution between individuals and provide support.

Some positive things that we should do to create a safer space:
- respect people's physical and emotional boundaries
- respect people's opinions, beliefs, differing states of being and differing points of view
- be responsible for your own action. Be aware that your actions do have an effect on others despite what your intentions may be
- take responsibility for your own well-being and get help if you need it