Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Night 2

The occupation has now moved into its second night. Morale remained upbeat throughout the day as we continued to make progress. We have continued to inform the student population of our aims and reasons for our occupation. For the most part the reaction has been positive. We continue to grow in numbers yet we still urge people to get involved and help out. We still need help and support from as many people as possible in order to achieve our aims.

In the morning we had a meeting with the Dean of Students and Director of Student Services, Rob Imseson. While he obviously did not accept our demands immediately he indicated that the University is willing to hold talks with us and negotiate. However, he did seem defensive in his approach and was unable to give us any solid replies. At the end we agreed that we would go back and continue to research how our goals can be achieved in order to present a watertight case to the University.

During the meeting Rob Imeson asked us to move our occupation from the Podium Lecture Theatre to the Street Lecture Theatre. He stated that at our current location we would cause too much of a disruption to the rest of the college. After listening to his request and with some careful deliberation we have decided to remain at our current location. We have stressed throughout the campaign that we are here to promote not disrupt education. We let lectures continue throughout at the day. At the beginning of each lecture we make a short speech explaining what we are doing and why. We then keep a small contingent of people on the stage just to ensure our presence is felt. We do not believe that this impairs either the way students learn, or the way lecturers teach in any way.

We have also realized that the Podium Lecture Theatre has several practical advantages over the Street Lecture Theatre. It is the second largest lecture theatre on the campus thus our presence will be felt by many more people. With our numbers constantly expanding, we will eventually be too many to fit in the smaller Street Lecture Theatre.

Throughout the day we held several events or talks to try and stimulate the interest of our fellow students. Lindsay German, a prominent figure in the Stop the War Coalition came in to discuss the situation in the Middle East and how we as students can help. The discussion was informative and we came away with several new ideas of how we can continue to promote our cause. We also had a film screening. 'Occupation 101' is a film that looks in depth at the current conflict and the roots of its causes. Many people came away assured of their opinions and convictions.

The evening was ended with a quick meeting to organise the following day's events. This was followed by an informal and relaxing poster painting session. At the end of the day everyone was slightly tired but rearing to go.