The demands have also been stuck onto the gates which leading into the Old Schools site on King's ParadeCambridge Defend Education

Student campaigners occupying the University’s Old Schools site have formally published their demands in a letter to University management and Vice Chancellor (VC) Stephen Toope.

The collective, which contains members from Cambridge Defend Education and Cambridge’s Marxist Society, have spent four days inside Old Schools in support of the current UCU strikes.

The group say they have no plans to not leave the building on King’s Parade, which acts as the University’s main administration site, until their demands are met.

The occupiers’ six demands are:

  • The University of Cambridge must recognise UCU.
  • The VC, Stephen Toope, must make a public statement calling for UCU’s demands to be met by employers and the national pensions and employment bodies.
  • The VC must set out the University of Cambridge’s plans for meeting the national and local UCU demands, alongside those of UNITE and UNISON.
  • The VC must sign the Undoing Borders ‘Pledge Against the Hostile Environment’.
  • The VC must agree to an open meeting before the end of term as part of a commitment to meet with students and workers twice termly.
  • Students and workers face no disciplinary measures for taking part in peaceful direct action in support of the strikes.

In a statement, the collective said that “in disrupting the central seat of university power and treating it as common space”, they are able to express their vision of a University organised by and for its staff and students, “without locked doors or shady back-door meetings; we are fighting for truly democratic control of this University”.

Apart from being the main University administration building, Old Schools also houses the office of Vice Chancellor, Professor Stephen Toope. This statement came on the same day that occupying students joined in solidarity with staff at UCU’s strike rally.

The current strikes are set to enter their final week, while negotiations between the University and UCU seem not to have advanced publicly. UCU is demanding fairer staff contributions to the USS pension scheme, salary improvements, gender and racial equality.


Mountain View

50 students occupy Old Schools in support of strikes

Cambridge’s SU has published a statement in support of the occupation and striking staff, calling on the university to ensure that no students face disciplinary procedures for their participating in the occupation.

“Students have a right to protest and hold the university to account for its treatment of striking workers and its refusal to take the steps necessary to end the strike,” it reads.

In response to the occupation, a University spokesperson told Varsity earlier this week they “are aware that a group of students have blocked themselves into a staircase and some meeting rooms”, but that “the business of the University carries on as normal”.

The collective has taken over two floors within Old Schools, in which the group has created study spaces and a podcast studio, for students to share experiences during the occupation. They have also created a parody ‘Solidarity College, Cambridge’ breakaway college as part of the occupation.