UPDATE: ProtectWarwickWomen in talks to escalate protests following meetings with the uni

The group say that talks with the uni ‘completely broke down’

The ProtectWarwickWomen campaigners are in talks to escalate their protests after communication with the university broke down.

Over the past 2 weeks, occupying the Piazza for over 240 hours, the campaign group have had four meetings with various representatives of the university.

The university sent out an email today encouraging students to report any  concerns they may have on its Stay Safe hub and gave a statement to The Warwick Tab linking to a full response to the protests.

But the protesters say this is not enough, and shared that they plan to escalate their protest with a social media campaign.

Their sit-in on the Piazza, which began on 18th March, has gathered mainstream media attention, as well as widespread support on social media on their Instagram and Twitter pages.

The sit in has continued for over 240 hours now, beginning on 18th March at 4pm, pictured above (credit to @_letty.m_)

In their fourth meeting with the university, this time with the Head of Security and the Director of Wellbeing and Safeguarding, ProtectWarwickWomen say that ‘talks broke down completely’, with the university representatives allegedly refusing to speak to the group again.

Speaking to The Warwick Tab, a representative from ProtectWarwickWomen said “Communications were going well until we had our meeting with the Head of Security and Director of Wellbeing and Safeguarding, where talks completely broke down.

“They refused to do anything, despite not being able to justify it, and now they’ve refused to have any more meetings with us.”

The most recent meeting was focused on point 3.1 of ProtectWarwickWomen’s list of demands, calling for the introduction of an alternative team to security, that could be present in the immediate aftermath of a sexual assault.

The group asked the university representatives why they were unable to implement such a demand but say they were not given an answer.

@ProtectWarwickWomen‘s Instagram stories discuss the university’s response, the left image from a week ago and on the right yesterday (1st April)

The protesters allege that university representatives said that they were working on a review, which they will continue to do, and that now they have fulfilled their side of things by meeting with the group, they do not intend on meeting with them again.

The University have released a statement regarding the protests, stating that they have “welcomed the ideas put forward by the students who have been protesting this week in the piazza and have held constructive discussions with them on the range of concerns they have raised.”

They have also released a document which can be read here, detailing their responses to ProtectWarwickWomen’s proposals. In regards to point 3.1, the University has said that they are ‘supportive’.

Warwick’s response (right) to ProtectWarwickWomen’s demand 3.1 (listed on the left), discussed in the most recent meeting

However, the group have now said that they are in talks to escalate their protests as they feel like the university doesn’t care. Speaking to The Warwick Tab, they said:

“We are working with other groups and societies at the uni to start a movement raising awareness about the inefficiency and failures of campus security. Over the coming days we are planning on launching a social media campaign. We are using this as our current method of escalation.”

Warwick SU have also released a statement of support, stating that they “stand in full solidarity with Protect Warwick Women and all survivors of sexual assault on this campus”.

The full SU statement on the Piazza Protest, shared on Facebook

The university emailed all students today saying they were “continually improving the ways we make everyone feel safe and supported” and that sexual misconduct “will not be tolerated, as everyone has a right to feel safe and supported at Warwick.”

The email went on to say that they have heard the concerns of ProtectWarwickWomen about safety on campus, and will be working with them closely in the future.

“We want this group to continue to provide us their insight, so we’ve invited them to work with us through our established Student Advisory Group, where we tackle issues raised by students and consult on the developments we want to make.”

Featured image credited to @_letty.m_.

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