Exclusive: Inside Peter Chalk which is currently being occupied by students supporting UCU strikes

They are planning to occupy the building until next Wednesday

A group of students have occupied the Peter Chalk building in support of the UCU strikes.

Students have taken over the Peter Chalk building on the University of Exeter’s Streatham campus to show their support for lecturers taking part in this week’s strikes.

The Tab Exeter managed to get inside Peter Chalk, where occupiers have blocked all entrances to the building.

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Students have barricaded the doors with furniture from inside the building to prevent access.

They are planning to continue occupying the building until the strikes end next Wednesday.

Other students have been turning up with provisions, including food and toiletries, to keep them going.

Exeter Students Support the UCU Strikes 2019 told the Exeter Tab: “This action is likely to cause much disruption to University management, forcing them to reschedule potentially hundreds of sessions.”

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First year Maths student, Sean, who has joined the occupation, said: “I’m pro strike and I care about the rights of our teaching staff.

“I agree with the logic behind the strikes. I back what the UCU say and I feel the changes regarding pensions are necessary in order for greater harmony between staff and students.”

Fourth year Hannah, who gained access to the building, heard estate patrol trying to negotiate with the occupiers.

She said: “I heard security negotiating with some of the students, asking them to take the tape off on one camera at the entrance for safety reasons. They said it wouldn’t impact their occupation.”

The students proceeded to remove the tape.

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The atmosphere inside the building is much more relaxed however – occupiers have put on a film to pass the time.

Hannah said: “It’s a very chill environment inside, everyone’s sharing food and they’re about to put a movie on.”

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The group released a list of demands to the University on their Facebook page. These include a request for Vice Chancellor, Steve Smith, to openly support the UCU strike and for mitigation to be provided for students supporting the strikes.

They have threatened to escalate action if the University does not meet these demands.

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