Latest letter to Paul Webley from the SOAS occupation

Dear Professor Webley,

As you may already be aware, we intend to peacefully resist the injunction granted in the High Court yesterday. We do so because of the severity of the threat to higher education and because we feel that your resort to court proceedings was unreasonable and premature.

In your statement to staff on Thursday 25th November you suggested that those involved in the occupation have not been willing to negotiate with SOAS management through the student union. This is simply not true. We have said openly and repeatedly that our purpose in going into occupation was to negotiate a way that management could demonstrate support for our campaign against government plans to cut higher education funding and raise tuition fees.

Furthermore, since the start of the occupation we have had an informal channel of communication with you via the Student Union sabbatical officers. However, due to the informal and unofficial nature of these communications, they have lacked clarity and, in our opinion, often been inconsistent.

We intended for our demands to provide a starting point for negotiation. However, we do not believe that you could honestly expect us to abandon our central objectives. In short, we need to negotiate. It is because of this that we feel that it is appropriate to approach you directly. In doing so, we recognise that you will find some of our demands easier to meet than others. Indeed, that is implied in our request to negotiate.

In our discussions with the sabbatical officers, we have made clear our willingness to compromise. There are, of course, some bottom lines.

We think it would be helpful to make explicit what we think would be required for demand four to be met. Our request is that the following five points are incorporated in an open letter that students, staff and management can promote through a variety of channels. The points reflect our opinion of what was lacking from your otherwise welcome statement as sent to all students on Thursday 18th November.

– That the University management opposes all tuition fee increases
– That the University management opposes all cuts to Higher Education, not just those affecting SOAS
– That the University management opposes all cuts to EMA
– That the above is expressed in a statement that is made public and addressed to the government
– That you lobby other university vice-chancellors and principals to sign up to said statement

There would obviously need to be some way of verifying that these requests are granted before we will be satisfied that an agreement has been reached.

We believe that our requests reflect the opinion of the majority of students, lecturers and other staff at SOAS and have made this letter available to them.

We look forward to your reply.

Yours faithfully,
SOAS student occupiers

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5 Responses to Latest letter to Paul Webley from the SOAS occupation

  1. Me again says:

    ‘Yours faithfully’ should be used when a letter is addressed to Sir/Madam. ‘Yours sincerely’ should be used when addressing an named person or persons.

    I thought you were meant to be educated…

    • Maham says:

      Dear Me again,

      This comment just shows how narrow minded your view on education is.

      Yours sincerely,


      • Me again says:

        No, all is shows is my level of contempt for your occupation.

        I’ve tried reasonable debate but you don’t respond to that so I’m coming down to your level.

  2. john says:

    Dear “Me Again”

    Since when has smug pedantry been a substiute for “reasonable debate”? It would be more interesting to hear your detailed analysis of the occupiers’ demands and your own views on student funding.



  3. john says:

    Whoops, I meant “substitute”! So no need to correct me on that…………………

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