Manchester Uni spent nearly £25,000 on extra security for student occupations

Occupiers say it was a ‘complete waste of money’ by the uni

The University of Manchester spent almost £25,000 on additional security as a result of the two student occupations this year.

The Manchester Tab can reveal the uni spent £24,751 on additional security costs. On top of usual security contracts, an additional 1,441 hours of overtime were worked by security during the time of the occupations.

Back in November, students protesting the uni’s handling of the pandemic occupied the Owens Park tower. After two weeks they managed to win what they said was the biggest student rent strike victory in British history, winning up to £900 back for each student in uni halls.

According to documents provided to The Manchester Tab by the uni itself, these victories cost the uni over £10 million.

Then just two weeks ago, students ended a three week occupation of the Samuel Alexander building. Occupiers claimed this was the longest occupation in the uni’s history since the 1970s but were forced to leave due to being “threatened with legal and disciplinary action”.

UoM student Mattie Shannon was in both occupations and described the security costs as a “Complete waste of money spent on intimidating and surrounding us because management was too scared to agree to meet with us.

“Both occupations were incredibly embarrassing for the uni but Nancy repeatedly refused to meet with us to end them. Instead in the tower, they stopped food entering the occupation, blocked journalists from getting near and ultimately was forced to concede to our demands.”

This also all comes after The Tab recently reported that five security guards have already been investigated this year so far.

A University of Manchester spokesperson said: “We acknowledge our students’ right to protest, but we also need to measure this against any disruptions to day-to-day campus activity for the rest of our staff and student population.

“Occupations are unpredictable and disruptive so the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff always has to be the top priority. That is why we provided additional security and support so everyone at the university could go about their work and studies with minimum disruption. Our security team also made sure the occupiers always remained safe, including through the night.

“They were there to only observe and be on hand if needed, otherwise they did not actively engage with the occupiers. We do not cost individual activities of our security staff.”

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