After seven months of hard-fought struggle, students at the Free
Hetherington brought the occupation to a triumphant close on the last day
The occupation began on the 1st February amid fears that Glasgow
University management were planning a broad programme of cuts to courses
and student services. These fears were confirmed later that month, when
the Senior Management Group (SMG) announced that Slavonic languages,
nursing and the Department of Adult and Continuing Education (DACE), among
others, were destined for the axe.
Matters came to a head on the 22nd March, when SMG attempted to evict the
occupation. Campus security began the eviction, and Strathclyde Police
became involved, resulting in numerous injuries, including one concussion.
Following an occupation of the plush Senate Rooms lasting several hours,
management were forced into a climb-down, allowing the students to
reoccupy the Hetherington late that night. Occupiers remarked at the time,
“It’s not an eviction覧it’s an upgrade!”
Following the eviction, the occupiers redoubled their efforts, and were
rewarded when the consultation on the measures recommended that several of
the courses, including archaeology and anthropology, be saved. These
recommendations, which still left several courses under threat, were
upheld by the University Court on the 22nd June, while hundreds of
demonstrators gathered outside.
A Maryhill resident involved in the occupation said, “This is an
unprecedented victory for the student movement, and I’m thrilled at what
we’ve achieved. However, we shouldn’t rest on our laurels. DACE is vital
to many people accessing higher education later in life, and it has lost
its public funding, meaning more of the cost is passed onto the end user.
There are also plans to introduce fees of ｣9000 per year for students
coming from outwith Scotland. Both of these risk making university a
privilege of the wealthy elite.”