Young Academic’s Political Correspondent Robert Gant reports on the end of the longest student occupation in UK history. As the United Kingdom’s ultimate source of student news, we thought it was only right to bring you all the information you need regarding this remarkable set of events.
After 212 days the Free Hetherington group ended their occupation of the Hetherington Research Club building at the University of Glasgow. They claimed victory and there was a celebratory atmosphere as the students abandoned their positions, carrying with them the belongings that had made the sit-in a home away from home for the last seven months.
The sit-in was a protest against University moves to close courses and cut funding by up to £20 million. In the end the Free Hetherington group had all their demands met to some extent, although they admit some courses may still be under threat.
In their final statement the group thanked everyone who had taken part whether it is the students who sat it out for seven months or the support network that helped bring the occupation to a successful conclusion.
The protest made headlines in March when police stormed the building with the aim of evicting the protesters, only to be resisted violently by the students inside. Accusations of heavy handed police tactics may have had some truth to them as the University decided against any further eviction attempts throughout the rest of sit-in.
The students were visited by comedians, activists and musicians including Billy Bragg who kept the protesters spirits high throughout.
On the last day the student activists were still making their protestations known, leaving the building with raised fists chanting “No Ifs, No Buts, No Education Cuts”. And with that, the occupation was over but the battles about education cuts, tuition fees and course closures look set to rage on well into the new academic year.