Occupation Statement

Posted: January 27, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

Well, yesterday was interesting and contrary to popular belief, the occupation is still on. There were some misunderstandings from upstairs but we think we have those sorted now and things are back on track. Well, mostly anyway. We are negotiating for a new suitable room that is not going to have building work in it but this is actually a bit of an imposition. Occupations are supposed to be contentious, they are supposed to stop operations and they are supposed to make some people annoyed, some people stressed and some people supportive. We have acted with nothing but integrity and find the insinuation that we have done otherwise insulting and offensive. In the few weeks since coming back into occupation, we have caused considerable positive press and have done nothing but raised the profile of the university.

We have been accused of bringing the name of the university into disrepute and this is also offensive. Anyone who has been following the campaign, reading the articles we have been in and written, heard the interviews on radio, looked at the blogs and planning campaigns can clearly see that we have stuck to a message of “we are here because the teaching standard and time with each student is so high and that is why we feel we must save Leeds Trinity University College”. There are a number of messages we could be sending out that would certainly damage recruitment and there have been considerable conversations about whether we should or not but the point of those discussions and every discussion is whether we would be seen to be acting with integrity to do so. Our demands have the sole aim of ensuring that Trinity continues to offer the ethos we came here for and we chose this university for being forward thinking enough to provide that. If there has been any damage done to the university, then it was done by a failure to reassure students of their position in a timely manner and having everybody rely on what little information is available.

Contradictory messages add to confusion and worry about the future of the institution. Without responding to our demands, we are not in a position to deny or confirm any rumours we hear as we have no facts available to us from the institution, which is also one of the demands. If we are facing such dangerous and turbulent times, shouldn’t the students be offered an honest appraisal of the decisions determining their future? Statements being made that act to put off a serious and pressing issue with assurances of finances being stable are not useful for anyone when the contrary is so obviously the case. There would not be a need to discuss redundancy, departmental merging, more redundancy and mortgages were the college to be financially robust. None of this would make sense if you were aware of the lag year that all universities face where the new fees have not been brought in but the funding from the government has stopped. Every university is going to have a year where they cannot afford to operate and it is not in 2012, it is next year. Which means everyone except third year is going to be affected by this.

We have acted with integrity throughout the campaign, we have always made sure to send the message “Trinity is worth saving, if you keep it running with all the staff in place, then we will fight with everything we have to oppose these cuts, ensure recruitment and providing the student voice with the power to influence decision making”. If that message is not palatable, then there is something behind all of this that is making us very nervous indeed. We are the stakeholders of the university and we have the power and the duty to ensure that the institution we have become a part of, responds to dangerous and turbulent times with morality and dignity. The occupation will continue to send its message, it is a message of hope but grim determination and we will continue to defend our position because from what we have seen, it is the most honest and moral available.

  1. Proud Alumni says:

    This article is brilliantly written and strikes at the core of what it set out to. If the content is true, (I haven’t been to the campus since July, but have no reason to suspect untruths), then I think this occupation is a credit to the students of Leeds Trinity.

    Freda and her team are good people with an impossible task, and that should be remembered. They are the same people who 12 months ago saw a bright future for Leeds Trinity in terms of growth, reported a sound financial position, and enjoyed becoming the newest HEI in Britain to be given te power to award it’s own degrees. The fundamentals that are demanded by the occupation are set out in Project 2012, but nobody in any institution could have predicted the unprecedented cuts that the Coalition have implemented. Even the most pesomistic estimates fell wildly short of the mark.

    The students deserve clarity, but be patient as not a lot of clarity exists even for those who lead universities. Much more will be known come March after the publishing of HEFCE’s funding letters.

    Don’t stop campaigning, but campaign to the people who can influence survival. Use evidence founded in dissertation standard research, and get the support of those who work at the university to help you.

    Good luck and thank you for trying to keep the place alive.

  2. Meg Friis says:

    I’m very sorry if the college has changed it’s attitude. I agree it’s really important that all members of the college fight this together – there shouldn’t be a them and us. Hopefully we all believe Trinity is distinctive and needs protecting.
    You’re doing a great job and I am very grateful that you are doing so much on all our behalf.
    Thank you.

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