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University of Birmingham re-occupied - building squatted

Defend Education | 23.11.2011 01:34 | Occupy Everywhere | Education | Free Spaces | Public sector cuts | Birmingham

Student activists have just squatted an abandoned former gatehouse of the North Gate of the University of Birmingham as part of the national day of action called by NCAFC

In a statement on their website they say

"Despite the university and government taking increasingly regressive measures to make universities inaccessible, we are determined to keep the gates open. Our aim is to advance a set of demands centred on justice in education and educational institutions. We want people to be treated as human beings and the university to be run for public good, not as a business.

We have taken this space as a “free space” on campus, from which we seek to educate ourselves, and all who come into the occupation, to build a stronger movement. We are determined to stay as long we can, we implore the university not to resort to force to remove us as they did last January

Over the course of the occupation, there will be talks from academics, university workers and students, about cuts, fees and privatisation. You are all invited to come down, join in, and use this space to work, study and put on your own events."

This is the second occupation of the university this month as previously reported on Indymedia

The day of action is about mobilising around the following points:
Scrap fees – Free education – Living grants/EMA for all – Stop the White Paper – Nationalise the universities – Tax the rich, take over the banks

Challenging university heads to pledge not to make cuts or convert universities into profit-making companies.

It is vital that we use this Day of Action to make solidarity with the public sector strike day on 30 November, and make links with workers in struggle on our campuses and in our towns.

What you can do:
1. Organise a local demo
2. Organise a walk out from your school or college
3. Occupy your university
4. Link up with local trade union branches to build for November 30

This page will be updated as events unfold.

Defend Education


Another photo

23.11.2011 01:50

Inside the abandoned former gatehouse

Defend Education

Update 1.33

23.11.2011 02:07

The university have been pressuring us to leave with senior mangers demanding, students make an immediate exit. We have refused and intend to stay.

Defend Education

Update 1.59

23.11.2011 02:08

The university called the police and asked them to break into our occupation and remove us. The police officer on scene refused saying it would be “disproportionate” to do so. While we thank for the police for being reasonable we don’t believe the universities approach is constructive. The police have now left.

Defend Education

Update 7.23

23.11.2011 10:01

good morning all, hope you had a good night sleep. Special thanks to the three people who just spent the night outside the occupation being the liaison for security.

Defend Birmingham

Find us

23.11.2011 10:08

Map of the squatted building

Defend Education

Update 9.55

23.11.2011 10:15

We have access in and out of the building, come down and join in.

Defend Education

Update 10.09

23.11.2011 10:16

why are we in occupation, introductory meeting called for the start of the occupation

Defend Education

update 11.14

23.11.2011 12:03

The University of Birmingham are refusing entry in and out of the University of Birmingham occupation denying the students access to food and water in an effort to drive them out call +44 (0)121 414 3344 and ask for Stuart Richards, Brendan Casey, David Eastwood ask them to facilitate peaceful protest.

Defend Education

update 11.51

23.11.2011 12:04

We have just sent the below notice to the university who are blocking access to the occupation.
Dear Lee Sanders,Stuart Richards, Carolyn Pike

RE: Legal notice

We have been informed that the University of Birmingham has blocked all accesses to the North Gate House. This is a legal offence as we have secured our squatting rights to reside in this building. Indeed, if any residents become ill due to your negligence in restraining access to food, water, legal advice and other supplies you will be considered liable. Furthermore, such practice constitutes “false imprisonment” and is indeed another infringement on our rights.

We therefore demand that you remove all obstructions immediately.


The residents, 1 North Gate House (R), B15 2TT, Birmingham

Defend Education

Update 12:32

23.11.2011 12:35

Police and security have blocked all accesses to the North Gate House. They are not letting anybody in or out

Defend Education

Update 13:42

23.11.2011 13:46

Security still actively blocking food and people from getting in. A crowd has now formed outside the squat to show their support

Defend Education

update 13:49

23.11.2011 14:08

A crowd of students and staff have just managed to get through the blockade and have delivered us fresh supplies. Photos soon. Thanks for the solidarity.

Defend Education

update 14.02

23.11.2011 14:09

the University of Birmingham guild of students, in defiance of the university has just delivered us food.

Defend Education

They are still there

23.11.2011 18:12

I left at around 4pm, and they were still in occupation, and if you look on their website there are still updates.

There is still no access to the building, but food has been allowed to be given to the occupiers.

The university have said that they will take disciplinary proceedings against all the students inside and that if they have not left by 9am tomorrow morning they will seek an injunction.


Update 16.34

23.11.2011 21:02

We have agreed this statement of international solidarity.

We offer solidarity with students, teachers, pupils, parents and education workers who have been fighting the privatisation and marketisation of education; who are fighting for free and emancipatory education. We are with all who are fighting the so called “Bologna-Process;” which is cutting the quality of education all across Europe and robbing Europe’s youth of a decent education.

While we take action to build local pressure to change our individual institutions and governments, we must always be aware of the global and structural nature of our problems and learn from each other’s tactics, experiences in organizing, and theoretical knowledge. Short-term changes may be achieved on the local level, but great change will only happen if we unite globally.

We are inspired by the students and workers who have lead the struggle against tyranny in the Arab world; who are giving their blood to overthrow the military dictatorship in Egypt right now. The struggles of Greek workers and Chilean students are examples we should seek to emulate.

We back the work of the international students movement which is uniting struggles worldwide and we back the joint international statement.

Defend Education

Update 18:06

23.11.2011 21:12

In an amazing act of solidarity the Guild of Students have just given to us 27 freshly-baked pizzas (one for each occupier) hand-delivered by the Guild President himself.

Defend Education

Update 19.34

23.11.2011 21:15

As the occupation continues into the night, the University of Birmingham Guild of Students has now released this statement of support.

Defend Education

Update 23:30

24.11.2011 01:21

A student has just been assaulted. They were punched three times through a open window by a university security guard who seemed to be attempting to force entry into the building. Police called and are now on site.

Defend Education

Update 23:40

24.11.2011 01:22

The solidarity occupiers on the street outside have been threatened with arrest by university security for ‘breach of the peace’ and have moved down the road. Police have left after we gave witness statements to the above assault.

Defend Education

Update 00:03

24.11.2011 01:23

University security behaving very childishly and vindictively. They’re now preventing us from sleeping by constantly ringing the door bell, banging on the windows and laughing despite being told to leave us alone.

Defend Education

Update 00:09

24.11.2011 01:24

Uni security surrounding the building with cameras and torches trying to record us through the curtains. Still ringing the door bell every few minutes apparently trying to get us to go to the door so they can film us.

Defend Education

Update 00:21

24.11.2011 01:24

Uni security still ringing the doorbell constantly and laughing… It’s like they’ve just discovered this hilariously original prank

Defend Education

Update: 00:36

24.11.2011 01:25

University security attempting to force entry again. Have forced a window open (damaging the window frame in the process) and trying to get through the window.

Defend Education

Update 00:58

24.11.2011 01:26

stand-off between university and students

Defend Education

Update 01:15

24.11.2011 01:27

Sorry for the lack of updates, very difficult situation at the moment. Security are continuing to surround the building banging on doors and windows however seem to have given up trying to break through the window for now after we re-secured it. A large group of supporters has gathered outside the building now which seems to have put security off continuing to attack us. We thank them all very much for their support.

Defend Education

Update 01:21

24.11.2011 01:28

We have now discovered that the ‘police officer’ we talked to earlier was actually university private security impersonating a police officer and the police were never actually there.

Defend Education

Update 01:36

24.11.2011 01:52

We believe the university private security man who took part in the first assault (punching an occupier three times in the face through an open window while trying to force his way through) has been taken by the police for questioning. We seem to be in something of a ceasefire now that there are too many people outside the occupation with cameras for the security to continue their completely illegal attacks. Crowd outside are singing for us, the solidarity is wonderful :)

Defend Education

Photo from earlier in the day

24.11.2011 02:09

Police and security outside northgate house

Defend Education

Another photo from earlier

24.11.2011 02:11

protesters outside northgate house show solidarity with those inside

Defend Education

Update 02:08

24.11.2011 02:13

Due to security backing off to deal with the new protest outside we managed to fix the damaged window and have now re-locked it. People power works.

Defend Education

Photo from earlier in the day

24.11.2011 02:20

No To Staff Cuts

Defend Education

update Thursday 24th 11.18 am

24.11.2011 16:24

student supporters of occupation to discuss what next for the occupation?

they are meeting at 5pm today at the muirhead tower

“Right everyone, so a few of us decided that we should perhaps all get together for a little bit and discuss what to do next, in terms of solidarity and creating a more visual and dynamic presence, what other things can we do outside the occupation other than just voice our solidarity with the occupiers inside?

Some people have cooked up a few ideas already, but if you have your own then make sure you can come to this today! It’ll only be half an hour.”

Defend Education

Update 11.36

24.11.2011 16:25

we have just received this solidarity message from Birmingham against the cuts, which alliance of grassroots campaign groups and trade unions from all across Birmingham.

Defend Education

update 12.03

24.11.2011 16:26

bbc westmidlands have arrived with camera crews outside the occupation.

Defend Education

update 11.51

24.11.2011 16:26

we have received this statement of support from the national campaign against fees and cuts

Defend Education

update 16.08

24.11.2011 16:27

The university are trying to get a hearing late notice in two hours time, to get a injunction against us to force us out of the premises.

Defend Education

Update 16:45

24.11.2011 16:45

Blockade of the occupation by the university security has now been going on for over 24 hours

Defend Education

photo: police presence outside north gate

24.11.2011 16:58

police presence outside north gate

Defend Education

Update 18.03

24.11.2011 18:12

we have received this letter of solidarity from university of birmingham students

To the occupiers,

We are sorry to see the way the university has reacted to your peaceful occupation; we are ashamed of our university’s actions. On a day when over 10 universities all across the country went into occupation it was only the University of Birmingham that decided it would crack down on peaceful protest. The attack on the occupation last night and the blockade that they have enforced on you is entirely disproportionate. Especially considering that your occupation, even according to the university, has not been disruptive.

We believe, like you, that people should be treated as human beings and the university should be run for the public good, not as a business. The cuts to pay and pensions of support staff already on poverty pay is morally abhorrent, especially while high paid university mangers take pay rises of as much as 11%. We stand with you in your opposition to the cuts to staff pensions, which are the main cause of the strike on November 30th; we also want to offer solidarity to staff unions. We like you, think it is important we support the strike on November 30th because if we want to retain the brightest and best academics in the UK as our teachers, then we must give our lecturers fair pensions. We would like to point to the university that the Guild of Students itself fully supports the strike on November 30th, this is clearly not the belief of a minority.

The university seeks to portray you as a minority opinion on campus. This is not true: we are elected representatives from all across campus and we support you wholeheartedly. We would be in occupation with you if it were not for the blockade the university has put on the occupation and for fear of the threat of disciplinary actions that university is using to smother dissent.

Stay strong if the university take action against you, we will be there to defend you.


Edward Bauer VP Eduction

Kelly Rodgers Womens officer Guild of students

Leander Jones Comunity action officer Guild of students

Ben Aylott Chair Postgraduate and Mature Students Associaton, University Senator

Susanne Kluber Chair International students Associaton, Guild Councillor

Daniel Harrison, Chair, Birmingham Labour Students, Guild Councillor

Mma yeebo-Agoe – Ethnic Minorities Guild Councilor

Alice Swift 2nd year Chair of People & Planet, Campaigning & Political Mini-Forum Guild Councillor and Ethical & Environmental Committee member.

Sean Farmelo – Philosophy, Theology and Religion Guild Councilor and Ethical and Environmental Committee member.

Simon Furse Open Place Guild Councillor

Bryn Gough Political Science Guild Councillor

Nazakit Mohammed- Civ Eng Guild Councillor

Carmern Castrillon – Langauges Guild Councillor

Yusri Hamidi- Computer Eng Guild Councillor

Anwar Sattar- Post Grad Guild Councillor

Usamah Khalid- Open Place

Zain Ali- Open Place

Muneeb Akhtar- Chem Eng Guild Councillor

Sam weaver, biosciences and student representation 1st year

Sivan Lavie Oxfam Co-chair

Rosie Pinsent Chair of Art Soc

Sebastian Egerton-Read Secretary Student Broad Left

laura hamilton, 2nd year geology student rep & lapsoc VP

Amanda Moorghen, 2nd Year Philsophy SH Student Rep

Alex Thompson, 1st year hispanic studies

Defend Education

Update 18:17 second occupation planned for tomorrow

24.11.2011 18:21

A solidarity action for the northgate occupation has been planed for tomorrow.

We are doing a run for our money. The run starts at 9.30am sharp, we will occupy somewhere else on campus. Security are welcome too - just keep up.

Time 25 November: 09:30 - 12:30
Location: north gate University of Birmingham.

We implore the University of Birmingham management to open full dialogue with the protesters inside North Gate, furthermore we implore them to comply with the reasonable demands made by the protesters.

We will not stand for privatised education - We will run from it.

Defend Education

Update 18:35

24.11.2011 18:37

The Occupy Birmingham camp have offered these word of solidarity:

We, the occupiers of Birmingham, are disturbed to see the way the university has reacted to your peaceful occupation. The University of Birmingham has, alone, reacted with aggression and has sought to harass those of it's students that have offered their solidarity to trades unionists and occupiers.

We believe, like you, that the University is an academic community of staff and students. Central to this concept is the ability of all its members freely to challenge prevailing orthodoxies, query the positions and views of others and to put forward ideas that may sometimes be radical in their formulation.

We support the students, academic and other staff members that are proud to defend the right for education to be available to all, that seek to defend UK education from the cuts to its te...aching and research base, to defend the terms and conditions of its staff. To these ends we support the peaceful actions of the occupiers and offer solidarity with the members of staff unions actions in withdrawing their labour on November 30th.


Occupy Birmingham

Defend Education

update 18:42

24.11.2011 19:57

We have been informed that the university are seeking a interim procession order, we are told that if this is granted it will be a criminal offence to stay beyond 24hours after it has been granted.

Defend Education

Update 21:40

24.11.2011 21:42

High court injunction has been served on the occupation, the University of Birmingham must have spent ten of thousands on that.

Defend Education

Update: new occupation planned for tomorrow

25.11.2011 03:00

The occupation has now ended but a new one at a new location is planned for tomorrow Friday 25th 9:30 at northgate

Defend Education


Display the following 3 comments

  1. Live blog of countrywide actions — Defend Education
  2. Once occupied — Bill
  3. Hang on in there — Rob Carter