Exeter Uni responds to students occupying Peter Chalk in support of UCU strikes

‘We respect students’ right to protest’

The University of Exeter have responded to the group of students occupying the Peter Chalk building in support of the UCU strikes.

A spokesperson for the University told The Exeter Tab: "We respect students' right to protest provided they do so in a safe, legal and considerate manner, and will work to mitigate any potential impact on other students and staff."

One of the students occupying Peter Chalk told us a meeting between the occupiers and the University's communication team occurred today.

He said: "They're not going to discuss our demands unless we leave. We can only talk to senior management when the occupation ends."

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Last night a group of students occupied the Peter Chalk and Newman buildings to show their support for lecturers taking part in this week's UCU strikes. They blocked all entrances to the building, and released a a list of demands to the University on their Facebook page.

Demands included 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 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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Deputy Vice Chancellor, Tim Quine, sent an email out to students this morning thanking them for their understanding and patience during this "unsettling time".

He added: "We also want you to be aware that yesterday evening a small number of students occupied part of the Peter Chalk Centre on the Streatham campus. This means that teaching in the Peter Chalk centre, including the Newman lecture theatres, will be disrupted today.

"We are working to reschedule the planned teaching and will be in touch directly, via text and email, with any changes or postponements that are necessary."

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Much of today's planned teaching was cancelled as a result of the occupation, and with plans for occupiers to remain in the building until next Wednesday, it looks like there will be further disruptions.

Second year Law student, Shannan, told The Exeter Tab: "My seminar has been cancelled because of the occupation. Apparently there's no chance Peter Chalk will be open today."

Students are being sent text messages to let them know if their seminars or lectures have been effected.

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