As set out in our last email, at lunchtime on Wednesday we held a mass assembly for staff and students, which was extremely well-attended. The meeting decided unanimously that Paul Webley is yet to release a sufficiently strong statement opposing HE cuts and tuition fee increases, and that the occupation will therefore continue.
The basis for the decision was the limitations of the statement Webley released with Tim Miller on Monday – namely, that it made no mention of EMA, and that it failed to explicitly oppose lifting the cap on tuition fees or general cuts to higher education. However, during the discussion repeated reference was also made to the national context and SOAS’s arguable leadership role within it. Those present felt that the SOAS occupation must avoid taking any step that risks undermining the strength of the national student movement, and that leaving on the basis of the statement as it currently stands would risk doing so.
Management were informed of the decision in a pre-arranged meeting later that afternoon. They were not yet in a position to give any indication of their next steps.
Morale in the occupation is high. In the last few days we have had visits from Ken Livingstone, Tariq Ali, and Samir Amin and messages of solidarity continue to pour in. Look out for further events in the next few days. We encourage you to come and join us, whether for the night or just to pop in and say hello.