Saturday, 7 February 2009

Message of Support From The West Bank

Dear students of Manchester Metropolitan University,

We would like to extend our appreciation for the recent show of solidarity for our Palestinian brethren in Gaza, made evident by
your ‘occupation of Geoffrey Manton Building’.

Having already established links with the students of MMU it comes as no surprise to us at An Najah your understanding of the
ongoing ordeal.

Adding to this we would also like to set up further contact with your student body, perhaps encouraging a student forum via a
video conference for example in the not too distant future.

Once again thank you for all your efforts.


Students of An Najah National University, Nablus, Palestine.

1 comment:

  1. I was a student at Hallam University when it was called Sheffield Poly. In 1988 we also occupied the Pond St. Site, Most of the Collegiate Crescent Site, Psalter lane and the Administrative buildings in Pond St. We basically shut down the Poly's entire operation for a week in a protest over cuts in education.
    At the time they also threatened us with calling in the Police. It never happened. This was partly because generally speaking the police have better things to do with their time than dealing with a generally peaceful demonstration. Also there is always issues concerning assaults so the police are wary of getting involved with what is essentially a civil dispute (as oppossed to criminal activities)To get the exact legal position on this it may be useful to get acces to the NUS legal team or any of the other Uni's currently occupied.

    As for throwing people out of university, well as students are now paying customers it is not really in their interests to throw out their main source of income no matter how unruly they are. I therefore think that this is a bluff.

    A bit of advice one of the key points of our demands was that no one would be singled out or held to account for any accidental damage or any costs incurred by the Uni. If you don't get agreement on this you could be liable for a hfty bill. Therefore whatever you do don't leave before you get this agreement otherwise not only will you have lost your argument you could end up with a serious bill to pay.

    As a student, when we started the occupation I had no real idea about the law, how to occupy a building or continue the protest, ho you negotiate with organisations etc. I founf that the Socialist Workers Party were a great help as they seem to be permanently kitted up for this kind of event and they advised us in a number of ways which were very practical i.e. how to secure a building in the event of police storming it, what to say to the press, how to get the Lecturers, anciliary staff, security and their union behind us, how to phrase things neutrally so as not to get peoples backs up, how to get positive publicity, how to keep morale up and importantly, how not to get arrested. If you did get arrested they would often bail you out (though I'm not sure how far they would go.
    You might also want to consider contacting UNISON as they sometimes help in situations like this.
    In fact get in touch with all the trade unions that represent any workers at the college as they are suprisingly sympathetic to causes like yours. They are also sometimes staffed by people such as myself who became politically aware through occupations, protests and demonstrations like yours
    Importantly you should also be getting full support of the NUS. If you are not then you need to call an extraordinairy general meeting to vote the executive out on a vote of no confidence.
    Is the College paper still going because you should at least get support from them as they were indepenant of the Exec (don't know if they still are).