LIVE: Manchester Uni threatens occupiers with potential expulsion if they don’t leave by 4pm

Students have until 4pm to vacate the John Owens building


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This morning at 7:45am, students occupying the John Owens building have been issued with a warning by the university that they must vacate by 4pm today.

The university say that failure to comply results in “grounds for formal disciplinary action under University Regulation XVII (Conduct and Discipline of Students).”  The letter also threatens that failure to comply will have “potentially significant consequences for continued study at the University”.

The university add that if students fail to comply with its order, it will be considered “serious misconduct” under Regulation XVII. We’ve trawled through the regulation to break down what this actually means. “Serious misconduct” means the penalty for the occupiers could be decided by the University Disciplinary Panel. This panel has the power to expel students.

It goes on to say: “For students, studying professional courses, their continued occupation of the building in the circumstances outlines, might also give ruse to fitness to practise issues which require consideration under the University’s Fitness to Practise Procedure”

The Rent Strikers say: “This is an unprecedented escalation from the university, especially given the number of occupiers.” The students were given 8 hours and 15 mins between receiving the letter and having to vacate.

4:27 – Protest outside John Owens as occupiers remain inside

Students in support of the occupiers have gathered outside the university. In videos of the protest, supporters can be heart chanting, “Who’s Uni? Our Uni?”.

One student says: “It seems unlikely the uni will follow through with any of their threats”

2:56pm – ‘University accuses the occupiers of risking the safety of staff’

A spokesperson for the university tells The Manchester Tab: “Following repeated warnings about their personal safety, unauthorised behaviour and disruption by a small number of students in the John Owens Building, we have sent a further letter requiring them to vacate the building by 4:00 pm today, and have explained the consequences of not doing so.

“Their ongoing presence, and refusal to remove blockades to enable access to the building, continues to risk their safety and disrupt the work of our colleagues who provide essential services to our university community.”

1:45pm – Occupiers defiant they will maintain action

“Their ongoing presence, and refusal to remove blockades to enable access to the building, continues to risk their safety and disrupt the work of our colleagues who provide essential services to our university community.”

1:45pm – Occupiers defiant they will maintain action

A first year student currently within the John Owens occupation tells The Manchester Tab: “It’s a very silly stance from the university.” They add if the university wishes to expel “thirty students” for a “peaceful protest”, “I can’t imagine what this would do for the university’s reputation”.

1:30 pm – Manchester Rent Strike respond publicly

Manchester Rent Strike take to Instagram describing the “ultimatum” as an “unprecedented escalation from the university, especially given the number of occupiers”.

7:45 am- Letter arrived slipped under the door

The university has said that the “unauthorised occupation” of John Owens “presents significant disruption to the conduct of normal business in that building” which includes “a number to the University’s key teams focused on the delivery of services and support to students, staff and the wider community; and our staff need to be able to access the building for those purposes and they have a right to work in an environment which is safe and secure.”

The students began occupying university buildings last Wednesday. They have occupied a total of four buildings since then.

The students have previously said that they will not leave until all of their demands are met. These include:

  1. Meet the Rent Strike demands.
  2. Give a £1500 payment to students to bring the maintanence loan in line with inflation.
  3. Meet the UCU demands.

4pm Occupiers refuse to leave despite threats

Supporting students and staff walked from the Whitworth arch to the front of John Owen’s.

Occupiers had a clear message.

“Roses are red, Nancy

Violets are blue,

we’re not leaving,

till you do too.”

They led chants and the crowd sang ‘solidarity forever’.

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