Update on Management

We have spoken to the Senior Management on the phone. We have explained that we want staff to be in the library to provide regular services for students and to perform any necessary cleaning and stock-checking. We are locked into part of the ground floor of the library, though we have control of the front door and are working with two contracted security guards to ensure that library facilities are protected. The area is clean and orderly; we have informed management that we intend to do anything we can to facilitate staff in the space.

Senior Management have told us that they cannot allow any work to take place in the building until we have left. By this they mean that they will neither allow staff to provide basic library services, nor perform the maintenance tasks that they claim are required. When we asked them why this is so, they claimed that the problem relates to unspecified “safety issues”. Part of our request is that staff perform maintenance tasks in parts of the building to which we have no access. Staff can enter via their own entrance! How our presence can therefore constitute a safety issue is a great mystery for us.

On Tuesday management had no problem with staff entering the building to work. What has changed? We can’t get any answers.

It is becoming increasingly obvious that management have no intention of engaging with us to open this building. The management’s real reason for refusing to allow work to take place in the building is not some set of unspecified “safety issues”. Management want to keep the building closed to punish students for protesting; and they want to alienate the body of Goldsmiths students from the protest currently taking place in the library building.

Don’t let them. In the part of the building we are holding open, students are coming into the building and studying quietly. We the occupiers are on the door, greeting newcomers and preparing talks and meetings. Shortly we will begin to post images of the space – we hope they might encourage people to come down and join us. Please email the management to demand that they stop their petty game of blackmail and allow staff and students into the library to get on with their work and studies.

List of emails:

m.grew@gold.ac.uk: PA to Hugh Jones, Registrar

m.redfearn@gold.ac.ukprowarden-students@gold.ac.uk: Philip Broadhead, Pro-Warden

d.lockyer@gold.ac.uk: Diana Lockyer, PA to Jane Powell, Pro-Warden

j.shephard@gold.ac.uk: Julia Shephard, PA to Sally Townsend, Director of Finance

 

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5 Responses to Update on Management

  1. Anon says:

    I don’t think any of you have considered the effect this occupation has had on ordinary members of library and other members of college staff (and in fact students who wanted to study in the library last week). The reason that the library is clean and in good condition is that college staff spent a good 2 days clearing up after what seemed just to be an all night party. Several used condoms were found by cleaning staff. I’m sure lots of the valuable book and journal stock has also been taken. Protest. Of course, you must protest, but you are picking the wrong enemy. It is not the College and your fellow students that you should be penalising. Take to the streets. Lobby your MPs. That is what will make the difference.

    College staff are not employed as servants to pick up the pieces after such irresponsible behaviour. They have a right to refuse to work as normal in a place that is being illegally occupied by students. Occupiers arrogantly seem to think that they have the right to pick and choose when library staff can come in. This is also costing the college a good deal of money which might equal staff redundancies and more strain on already fragile resources. The Library has already lost 6 members of staff this year due to budget cuts. They are as distressed as anyone by the way in which the coalition has set about destroying higher education. BUT they have a right to work in a place which feels safe and in control. The college management has a legal duty of care to their staff to provide that. Please respect and understand that and leave the library.

    • Anon says:

      Very strange. Over 7 hours since the previous comment was posted and no response from those that think they are doing this for the benefit of the students. If I was a part of the so-called “do gooders” I’m sure I would want to put the record straight. Seems the person, who I am sure is one of those students they are fighting for, has hit a nerve.

  2. Anon says:

    Have students got access to the main book area on the 1st floor? It’s all fair and well being able to access study areas, but a lot of students need to be able to access books! Please make this clear.

  3. Media Team Member says:

    Hi

    A few responses to the above questions. Apologies that these were not immediate, the occupiers were tied up in negotiations with management, helping teachers and other library users get access to facilities, and running a programme of discussion and film events in the ground floor of the library yesterday. We also had our hands full trying to to get our statements out to students and supporters so people would have some idea what we are doing and why. Clearly students are as concerned as we are that the library is treated with respect, and while waiting for a response from management, we have worked hard to make sure it is put to use in ways that benefit students, staff and all those in the community who do not normally have access to it.

    The short answer to your question is that the occupiers never had a chance to clear up after the occupation because management summarily reopened it and effectively ended the occupation on Thursday morning when most were out protesting against the massive fees increase and cuts which I think you would agree is the real issue still.

    This is not to say anyone was happy about any negative impact on library staff. This is one reason why at the outset the occupiers called for all staff and security to remain outside the building unless entering as supporters of the occupation. As part of our protest we wanted to interrupt business as usual at the library and across the college as we are convinced that only major disruptions can now win a response from Goldsmiths management and the politicians who, till now, they have shown no interest in opposing. In the interest of all students and all those who work at the library, we believe such disruption is necessary, indeed essential, if all our lives are not going to be made much worse in the near future. Picking up condoms and tidying away cans of lager is not pleasant work but it’s nothing compared to what things will be like if the govt gets away with the cuts and fee increases planned. The library will no doubt be cleaned entirely – wiped clean of students from anything but the ‘best’ backgrounds, and staffed by people who can afford to work for next to nothing, or who have no better options. The excesses of last week may seem disrepectful considered narrowly through the mindset of day to day irritations and disruptions, but if one pulls back it should be clear that the monumental contempt shown by govt and uni management are the real obscenities – quite literally worse than picking up after a bunch of students.

    Having said all of this we keenly appreciate that this sort of annoyance is unnecessary and doesn’t help our cause. Had we managed to secure the building by first removing paid security and then taking over running of the doors – as we did to a greater degree this weekend and without any problems – and had library management, as requested, removed paid staff, conceding the library was now under our control, we would have been able to conduct housekeeping of the library as initially planned. Finally, as I say, if management hadn’t seized the opportunity of the day of protest against the increase in fees to shut down the occupation, a further insult and show of contempt to students and staff, then we would have completed the clean up begun by our own team. Once again management is delighted to paint the occupiers as a vandalistic rabble, but if one considers who is really destroying and disrupting education, the picture looks a little different. I hope that staff who are angry about the extra work consider that it was not at all our intention to leave the building or the clean up to them. If we do not win it is exactly this creepy combination of pseudo-respectful ‘common sense’ and blackmail that management will use against you as they step up their campaign of job cuts. The real enemy is not the occupiers but the management.

    The occupiers sent a letter seeking dialogue with library staff on Tuesday morning and we received no reply, we assume because the management have scared them into staying schtum with their various mails to staff about not engaging with occupiers as if all such affairs are lead by members of Al Qaeda. The management accuse us of intimidating library staff but to my knowledge the most intimidation offered were earnest requests that we might have a chance to politely and respectfully explain our demands and aims to them.

    We hope if you do support us and the campaign against cuts you will at least see that the management is trying to frame the occupiers at this time and pit staff and students against each other in a transparent policy of divide and rule. The unfortunate problems arising from our inability to control the space while fighting to hold onto it would have been best overcome by more solidarity and coordination between library staff and occupiers, not more public denunciations of what we are doing.

    Apologies again for all the regrettable results of the managements’ disrespect for our occupation, and my sincere solidarity in your struggles against further cuts.

    Yours,

    An Occupier

  4. Anon says:

    The point is, neither Management nor the Coalition Government have been overly inconvenienced by the occupation. The people who suffered were fellow students and lower level library staff. The fact that there were used condoms and beer cans found AT ALL (whoever cleaned it up or intended to clean them up) undermines any seriousness of the protest. If we are getting pedantic about this – why not clean up before going on the march or simply try disposing of these things properly in the first place?

    It would be difficult not to feel intimidated by 150 people descending on a space at once, dismantling and pulling furniture apart and blocking staff entrances with barricades. I don’t think you are able to step outside and see this from the other side. Of course the cause is bigger than all of us. It is just that this particular form of protest has not been effective, only in alienating people.

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