Students occupying London Met Uni’s Cass arts college getting fed through letterbox
- Credit: 'Occupy Cass'
Students occupying a six-story arts college in London’s East End in a campaign to stop it being closed down are being fed through the letterbox. Hundreds of supporters have been turning up outside the Cass arts campus in Whitechapel High Street passing food supplies through the front door since the building was taken over six days ago.
The occupation is against London Metropolitan University’s plans to sell off the Whitechapel campus and shift everyone to its main site at Holloway in north London which is being expanded to accommodate them.
The students want to remain in Whitechapel and are furious at their Head of faculty, Robert Mull, being suspended and are demanding his reinstatement.
“We’ve use social media and are talking to passers-by through the letter box,” one student told the East London Advertiser.
“They’ve been supplying us with food. We’ve had pizzas, fried chicken, Chinese takeaways and mince pies pushed through the gap, even blankets and rolled up sleeping bags.
“We are locked in and can’t open the door, so everything comes through that gap no more than 33 centimeters wide.”
Dozens of students in the building came to the windows of all six storeys last night in a show of defiance, aimed at putting pressure on the university to halt the sale.
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They were served a letter to quit the building yesterday on grounds of health and safety—but the students’ union and the UCU lecturers’ union sent in their own inspectors who carried checks—and the six-day occupation continued.
Support has come from far and wide, including actor Sam West who starts in the new Suffragette movie.
“You can’t easily invent a place like the Cass,” he said.
“It has a collective memory. You can’t just ask it to toddle up the road (to Holloway). It has roots, not feet. Many courses which won’t survive the move.
“I worry that the transplant of so much creativity and experience is next-to-impossible to pull off.
“It’s time to ask if our Government really understands what makes a city live. People come to London because it has texture and history.”
The students are also backed by Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs who accused the university of selling off the Cass campus just to raise money to sort out its “mismanaged finances”.
Lecturers come out in support of the students mass protest last Thursday. Many face redundancies, even though the university says no courses are being dropped.
They’ve already gone through redundancies when the university was forced to repay £35 million “overpaid” grant to the government in 2009.
The university wants to bring all courses onto its main single site at Holloway in a £125m expanded campus.
But the unions fear this will lead to courses being run down and jobs being cut.