Response to Gilberts Ultimatum

Dear Professor Gilbert,

Yesterday afternoon protestors assembled outside the John Owens building requesting a meeting and announced that we were willing to end the occupation at 4 o’clock in exchange for talks to begin at 4:30. This morning we sent you a letter reiterating our eagerness to meet with you, in exchange promising to end the occupation the very moment our first meeting began.

We received no response to our offers. We can only conclude that you are determined to treat our protest with insincerity. This confirms our suspicions that you do not sincerely intend to take seriously the demands as endorsed by the wider student body through the democratic procedures of the Students’ Union.

We reiterate that we are willing to end our occupation but only on a multilateral basis. Currently we feel the conditions you have placed upon the occupation constitute a unilateral imposition of your authority. As such offer no assurances that you will take our demands seriously during the substantive negotiation stage.

In relation to the accusations of blockading, restricting free movement, harassment and intimidation we maintain that we did not stop anyone from leaving the premises. This is a fact we made clear to both the police and security last night. Testament to the legality of our actions the police did not arrest any individuals on last night’s actions.

With specific reference to your letter dated 5th March 2009, we would like to reiterate that we would like to leave the occupied space, once we have been provided with a satisfactory appointment for substantive discussions on the student body’s demands.

This protest has remained peaceful throughout the last four weeks. We are confused by your allegation that the occupation harassed and removed the property of an official visitor to the university. This was an action organised by a different group on campus called ‘Disarm Manchester’, and we claim no responsibility for this.

Furthermore, we will not accept any student being victimised for any actions throughout the last four weeks of occupation, including all actions taken yesterday. As mentioned previously, we have remained within the law and have remained peaceful.

We thank you in advance for your speedy response.

Regards

The Occupation.

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