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Victoria Uni Students Occupy

Victoria Uni Students Occupy


About 50 students occupied the Hunter Building at Victoria University today in protest against the confiscation of the student paper Salient as well as proposed fee increases.

A widely publicised Students Representative Council (SRC) meeting was held to decide a student response to the actions of university management during which a motion was passed that the SRC be moved and continued outside Vice Chancellor Pat Walsh's office. Students packed into the small space outside his office and overflowed down the stairs.

Screams of "free Salient" and "stop the fees" were heard throughout the building. Management at several points threatened to trespass the students as well as possibly evicting them with the numerous security guards present.



Shortly afterwards, the student association president Jeremy Greenbrook arrived with Salient editor Emily Braunstein looking rather disturbed at the disruption. The Salient editor encouraged the students to move the action elsewhere as it may be an impediment to the legal process which was, she claimed, coming along well.

Jeremy Greenbrook similarly sought to quell the student radicalism, by arguing that student voices were best served through him (and three others) on the fee setting council, but claimed that he would not come out at this point against fees as he was required to keep an open mind. Discussion among the students continued regarding the lack of democracy both in the university and in the student association.

Eventually, after Emily Braunstein encouraged the students to trust in them to voice the students' demands and act as good representatives, the students voted (the SRC meeting was still in process) to move the meeting down outside, though there was still significant opposition to moving. In all, the students remained sitting in the building for about 25 minutes.

The meeting continued at the base of the Hunter Building, where plans were to support the legal process by attending the Salient court hearing tomorrow en masse. Further decisions are unknown by this writer at this point.

Ultimately, it seems that combination of collusion between student representatives and university management, along with moderation of the students (even some supposed "radicals"), meant that what could have been an ongoing and potentially expanding occupation was voluntarily stopped, and power once again vested in legal avenues.

ENDS


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