Education

Goldsmiths students end their occupation of college management building

Goldsmiths occupying students say they have left Deptford Old Town Hall management building as they found it. Image: Occupy Goldsmiths

Goldsmiths occupying students say they have left Deptford Old Town Hall management building as they found it. Image: Occupy Goldsmiths

A group of Goldsmiths students has ended the occupation of the University’s central management building Deptford Old Town Hall.

This was part of a London wide campaign against commercialisation in Higher Education.

Another student occupation at Central St Martin’s College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London, is continuing with a meeting called for tomorrow.

The students say they have received a letter from a law firm.

The student occupation of the Vera Ansley Suite in London School of Economics Old Building in Houghton Street appears to be continuing.

Students have also been occupying  the Council Room on the Strand Campus of King’s College London.

They’re still negotiating their demands with the university’s management.

Goldsmiths agreed to the students’ demands and asked the students to leave by 5 pm Wednesday evening.

Instead the students held a meeting at 6.30 pm and did not end the occupation until 1.30 pm Thursday 9th April.

Goldsmiths published on its website:

The students occupying Deptford Town Hall left at 1.30pm today. We are currently assessing the damage and preparing the building so that in can be put back in use as soon as possible. We will confirm ASAP when it will be ready for use once more.

The students said they spent the morning using vacuum appliances and cleaning the building.

They posted ‘proof’ images on their Goldsmiths Occupy Facebook page:

We tidied and cleaned this morning and removed all banners, posters, bedding, rubbish and left the building as we found it. We swept, cleaned floors and hoovered. You’d never know this was a site of creative political resistance for the past two weeks.

They added: ‘Thanks to security for being lovely. They too are a creative bunch’ with images of paintings that had been done during workshops held in the building for more than a week.

Goldsmiths Registrar and Secretary Liz Bromley had sent an open letter to the occupiers earlier this week stating that the college was happy to agree with their demands:

To the students in Deptford Town Hall
Thank you for your recent correspondence. Our answers are below.
As such, we request that you leave Deptford Town Hall by 5pm today, Wednesday 8th April. This will enable us to clean and repair the premises this evening so that music students can have the access they need to prepare for examinations and performances, as soon as possible.
Our response:
1. College management will not pursue any individual students for costs incurred during the occupation.
Agreed. The costs of this occupation will not be passed on to any individual student and will be published as part of our commitment to financial transparency.
2. College management will guarantee a sizeable reduction (50% by June) in the counselling waiting list by the start of next term and recruit more not less counsellors.
Agreed. As already discussed, this is the primary objective of the improvements being made to counselling provision.
3. Any government cuts to tier one DSA (Disabled Students’ Allowance) will be matched with subsidy from Goldsmiths to ensure disabled students aren’t negatively impacted.
Agreed. As previously stated, Goldsmiths is absolutely committed to ensuring that there is no negative impact on disabled students from changes to the DSA. We are actively lobbying to resist any government imposed changes, whilst making contingency plans through our budgeting process.
4. College management will commit to supporting the case for Full Time Liberation officers inside the SU (Student Union).
Agreed. We can support the case, as already offered, but any decision remains with GSU (Goldsmiths Student Union).
5. College management will outline how students and staff will be consulted on the Sustaining Goldsmiths project, including oversight from the staff and students unions.
Agreed. There will be full and meaningful consultation on the Sustaining Goldsmiths programme. As agreed this will be through the formal negotiating mechanisms – the TUs (Trade Unions) and the GSU. Representative students from the GSU will be invited onto the Project Board for the programme.
6. College management will confirm dates for the agreed working groups as noted in minutes from the negotiations. A date in the next 3 weeks will be confirmed for the Director of Finance to present a detailed look at the college accounts and answer questions.
Agreed.

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