Occupation of Old Schools set to continue as negotiations drag

Image credit: Cambridge Defend Education

The occupiers of Old Schools have rejected a statement from the University which conceded some but not all of their initial demands.

The University offered the students an opening meeting as requested with “staff and students and the Vice-Chancellor”, promising that there would be no disciplinary actions “provided that the occupation ends tonight”.

In the Facebook response from Cambridge Defend Education, which answered the University’s statement, the occupiers said that they would support whatever UCU’s members decided at the meeting this morning regarding the USS Defined Benefit Scheme.  In light of Cambridge UCU’s inconclusive meeting, the students will presumably continue to strike until the staff decide that they have been offered a satisfactory deal. 

CDE’s response welcomed the offer of an open meeting with Stephen Toope but demanded more respect for students than was evident in their interactions with members of the senior management.  On passing the University’s statement through the door, Professor Maskell is alleged to have sworn at the occupiers.

The occupiers outlined their terms for the proposed open meeting, which included free access for student journalists, a large, accessible, un-ticketed venue, two chair persons from UCU and CUSU and the presence of VC Troope and P-VC Maskell to answer questions from staff and students. It is unknown if they have had reply.

CDE’s third initial demand of free access to occupiers has clearly not yet been granted as students continue to surround Old Schools.  CDE has released a separate statement welcoming all those who wish to participate in the occupation.

The occupiers have stated clearly that they will “not be intimidated” and the University’s offer not to punish students if they leave by this evening has been deemed a “veiled threat”.  The occupiers have said that they will leave when their demands have been satisfied, which include having no time frame on the promise of punishment.

Cambridge Defend Education have not yet made clear whether they have received response to their most recent demands.  In the wake of the deal between UCU and UUK falling through, they have reiterated their set of demands in a fourth statement.



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