Today saw the end of the occupation of 13 University Gardens, known as the Free Hetherington.
The occupation has been continuous since February 1st, with the exception of a few hours on the 22nd of March when a eviction by Strathclyde Police and Glasgow University security staff saw them expelled and occupy the University’s Senate Corridor in response.
The door of Hetherington House was shut at 12:20 pm by Stuart Rodger, a Glasgow University undergraduate who last week made headlines by throwing blue paint at Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
The often divisive occupation ended after negotiations with management led to a series of what the Occupation described as “significant concessions” including the creation of a new postgraduate social space, no compulsory redundancies and no repercussions for those involved.
Although enthusiastic about the outcome, many of the occupiers believe this conflict is far from resolved. Recent Central and East European Studies (CEES) graduate Sam Beaton said:
Just because the occupation has ended doesn’t mean that it’s over. Slavonics, Crichton and Nursing are still under threat – there is a lot still to fight for.
Guardian spoke to SRC Vice President Student Support Amy Johnson for her views on the end of the occupation:
I think it played a key role, alongside the SRC, UCU and Senate in fighting the most egregious of the proposed cuts. It played a vibrant role on campus in the last 7 months and I’m happy to see it end in such an amicable fashion.
The end of the occupation was an emotional moment for many. PhD student Bryony Buck explained her relationship with the Hetherington:
This place [both in its form as a Postgraduate social club and later as an occupation] has been my home for 8 years. I studied here, I worked here and have been part of the occupation since the second day. This is the end of an era.
Though the Occupation has drawn to a close, an open meeting with Principal Anton Muscatelli is due in the new semester. The future of cuts and direct action at Glasgow University should soon become clear.