Warwick Uni calls on protestors to call off their occupation of the piazza

Campaigners are refusing to call off the protest, calling the uni’s statement ‘cowardly’

The University of Warwick has asked the ProtectWarwickWomen campaigners to end their occupation of the piazza.

In a new statement issued last night, the university said: “We ask ProtectWarwickWomen to now call off their protest and work with us, and other students groups. We believe that working in partnership is the most effective way of finding long-term solutions. Ultimately, we all share the same determination to tackle sexual misconduct and to ensure all members of our community feel safe.”

Warwick detailed the progress they had made over the last 18 months to tackle the issues raised by the protesters, stating: “We’ve delivered preventative and awareness training to thousands of students, implemented strengthened disciplinary processes and established the Student Advisory Group to work together with student representatives on concerns and further improvements. We’re investing £2.6m per year in wellbeing support provision for students.”

ProtectWarwickWomen have occupied the Piazza for nearly 6 weeks

They also explained how they had worked closely with ProtectWarwickWomen, despite “disagreeing with their approach”,

“We have met Protect Warwick Women on numerous occasions to discuss a detailed list of ideas they have proposed to address concerns over safety and support. We’ve welcomed their feedback and have been working with them to consider each and every proposal to see if and how they could be delivered.”

The statement notes that whilst Warwick agreed to implement ‘the vast majority’ of the group’s demands such as improving street lighting, enhanced preventative training and better signposting to specialist support available to students, the university does not agree on the areas of training and security and will not be changing their approaches to them.

In response, ProtectWarwickWomen spoke about the statement on their Instagram, saying that Warwick was “publicly pressuring us into de-occupying the piazza, which is not something that we’re not going to do.”

They described the statement as “cowardly”, “absolutely ridiculous” and proof of “how little we can trust this university”.

The group say they embody the lack of safety students face in the eyes of sexual assault

They also said, “Students are people. Their experiences matter, their safety matters, their wellbeing matters. It should be the top priority that students at this university are safe, healthy and protected.”

They also released their own statement, alleging that they were not consulted before the university released its post. They restated their commitment to the cause and reiterated that they would not be ending their occupation.

“We are an embodiment of the lack of safety students face in the eyes of sexual assault, which is time and time again mishandled by the institution that promised to protect us in return for the money we pay them. We are a collective not only of students who occupy the piazza, but of a giant proportion of the student body in its entirety, and of people from across the country and the world from outside the Warwick community.

“We are not safe, we are not being listened to, and we will not be leaving.”

ProtectWarwickWomen say they “embody the lack of safety students face in the eyes of sexual assault”

Featured image credited to @_letty.m_.


Related stories recommended by this writer:

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

• ‘We wanted to do something they couldn’t ignore’: Protesters occupy Piazza for over 27 hours

It’s time for Warwick to step up