Manchester students barricade themselves in as staff fail to enter occupied management offices
Students barricading themselves inside the John Owens Building have resisted security staff’s attempts to enter
This morning student activists occupied the offices of the University of Manchester’s senior management, taking control of the whole building.
The occupiers say they will stay until their demands are met. They are calling for the university to:
- Meet the rent strike demands (which include a three year rent cap in halls and a 30 per cent rent refund).
- Provide a £1,500 payment to every student to bring the maintenance loan in line with inflation.
- Meet the UCU demands.
The students have barricaded the doors from inside with furniture.
Security staff were seen using power tools to make attempts to force entry to John Owens.
Students posted “section 144” papers on the doors of the occupation and told security staff that the building is occupied.
Students and staff gathered outside the building to show their support. Some were seen giving food to the occupiers through a window and pulley system.
A spokesperson for the University of Manchester said: “We are aware of a small number of individuals gaining unauthorised access to three University-owned buildings overnight. Our primary concern is the health and safety of those people who are currently occupying the buildings.
“We are aware of some doors and entrances being barricaded and locked and are emphasising our concerns for their safety in the event of an emergency incident.
“The normal working of the University is continuing. We continue to monitor the situation carefully.”
The Tab has seen occupier’s fire evacuation plan. Students said: “We have a fire safety plan and can unlock doors in an emergency.”
An SU spokesperson said, “As a Students’ Union, we are committed to ensuring that any students taking part in this occupation is properly supported, with access to food, drinks and other support they need. We also want to ensure they are not unfairly penalised by the university or the community for taking this action. The Students’ Union officers are meeting with university leaders to discuss the issues that these students have presented.”
This story is being updated.
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