LSE ends occupation and states 'desire to tackle inequality'

A student occupation at the London School of Economics has come to an “amicable end”, according to the institution – although protesters said there were “legal threats”.

May 1, 2015

The protesters, who have used the name Free University of London, began the occupation in March, taking over buildings at three London universities: LSE, University of the Arts London and King’s College London. They said it was a nationwide protest against an “increasingly neoliberal, undemocratic and restrictive education system”.

The occupations at both King’s and UAL ended earlier this month, and the final protestors left LSE at around 1am on 1 May. The protestors staged a number of high profile events while occupying the institution, including a screening of Russell Brand’s new film, The Emperor’s New Clothes, which was attended by the politically active comedian.

“The occupation of the Vera Anstey Room came to an amicable and peaceful end late last night,” a spokesman for LSE said. “The School and the occupying group had many areas of common ground, including the desire to tackle inequality, examine participation in decision-making and ensuring the School has a principled stand on investing its funds.”

The occupiers issued a statement on their Facebook page confirming the occupation was over “following…legal and disciplinary threats with which the university seriously compromised the wellbeing of its own students”.

The university had written to the protesters on Wednesday 29 April, stating that if the protesters did not “leave our premises by midnight tonight” it would “instruct…lawyers to begin court proceedings to reclaim control of our premises”.

“We decided to leave tonight after having successfully forced the university to concede to a number of the occupation’s demands,” the occupiers said. “For now we want to thank everyone for the incredible support and solidarity that they have given to us over the past six weeks because this would have not been possible without you.”

The LSE spokesman said that the institution would look to “address the concerns of many within the wider student and staff body”, and that LSE was no longer pursuing a legal case against those involved in the action.

chris.parr@tesglobal.com

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