Folklore Student Occupations at York

(More details to be added, sometime.)

1960's: Heslington Hall

Students campaigning for something or other occupied Hes Hall on at least two occasions, possibly including an ``Open the Files'' occupation in 1969.

1970: Heslington Hall

On March 3rd there was a General Meeting, at which it was voted to occupy Hes Hall. The students were compaigning over rights of access to confidential files alledgedly containing details of political and other activities by students. About 60 people occupied Heslington Hall overnight. (No details about how it ended yet.)

Late 1970's: Library

Students held a ``work-in'' overnight, as part of a protest about grants.

1978 or 1979: Heslington Hall

Just before finals, Heslington Hall was occupied by students. Andy Champ spoke against the occupation at a Union Meeting and was quoted in Nouse, but they called him ``Andy Capp''. In those days, the quorum for a UGM was 10% of not very many people, so a smallish number of people could swing a vote fairly easily. At the next meeting about a thousand people turned up and voted to end the occupation.

1982/3: Heslington Hall

An article about this was apparently in Vision a few years ago.

1988: Heslington Hall

No details at present.

1993: Central Hall

Some of this is from memory for the time being. GRS

The occupations of Central hall were in December 1993 (Can't remember what it was for. Possibly the grant cuts). Only a small number of students took part, but they received messages of support from other SUs, and even the peace campaigners from Menwith Hill. The vice chancellor agreed with the demonstrating students' point (but not the occupation).

There were at least two occupations of Central Hall, following a failed attempt to occupy Heslington Hall (staff locked the door and refused admission). The first took place on Sunday, when it was unused, and the students were chucked out when admin wanted to use it next day. Legend has it that they sent the SU a portering bill, there was certainly some financial penalty involved.

The second occupation, a few days later, was a bit less tame. In the end, there was an incident involving Bishwa B. Bandhari breaking a window (Apparently he didn't do it, but he didn't deny having done it when he was accused of it. For the publicity apparently.) There was also a claim of injury inflicted by a security guard or porter. Bishwa was I think given a suspended sentence by the University, if he had been kicked out then he would have been deported.

From ``The Northern Echo'', Saturday, December 11, 1993.

Steps in hand for eviction of sit-in students

By Barbara Steeper

Legal action may be needed to remove more than 60 students occupying part of York University in protest at government cuts to higher education.

Peter Smith, senior assistant registrar at the university, yesterday applied to the High Courts for a repossession order in a bid to get the students evicted from the central hall.

The protest began earlier this week with the backing of the university which said it was in total agreement with their stance on grants cuts.

But the Student's Union voted to reoccupy the hall indefinitely and yesterday said they would not move until they have an agreement that disciplinary action will not be taken against those involved.

A children's carol concert is due to be staged in the hall tonight and the university said it would take every legal step to make sure the students were moved and the event could go ahead.

A spokesman for the university said she was disappointed at the situation as everything possible was already being done to lobby the Government.

``On this issue there is no argument but a small minority decided to have an occupation to draw attention to it,'' she said.

``But now they're inconveniencing a large group of people who agree with them rather than protesting to the Government directly.

``If a repossession order is given by the High Court they will contact the bailiff and the police - the university does not carry out evictions.''

Janine Booth of the Student's Union executive said the action was bing taken because of the strength of feeling towards the Government policy.

She said union members had voted for indefinite occupation but if steps were taken to remove them there would be ``no form of violent resistance''.

The university alleges students broke into the hall on Thursday night but this is disputed by the students although they accept a window has been broken.

Photo caption:Protesting Grant Cuts: The students have voted for indefinite occupation but have promised there will be ``no form of violent resistance'' if steps are taken to remove them.

* Folklore Index Page * Disclaimer
* S020 Home Page * Send us Mail