The occupation of the New East Slope construction site has entered its second day after a national demonstration at the University of Sussex.
Roughly 150 students were in occupation yesterday at the site, after others from the protest jumped over gates and barriers to access the construction site. The initial 40 student protestors stormed the area in the early hours of yesterday morning,
Sussex University and the Students’ Union were open as normal today, with University staff looking to reschedule student services that were cancelled.
Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell responded to the occupation in a statement on the University’s website, saying: “I am concerned… for the protestors who have unlawfully entered the East Slope site. I hope that they will see that they are putting themselves and others in potential danger.
He added: “With emotions running high at the moment, I am grateful for the vast majority of people at [yesterday’s] demonstration for respecting our campus and community. This has been a hugely challenging time for everybody and I will be writing to all students and staff on Monday to show my thoughts on how we can move the situation forward.”
Tickell has received criticism, however, for his initial response to the occupation and their demands, allegedly saying in an email: “Unfortunately, it looks as if they’ll be there a long time!”
The University is in contact with Balfour Beatty, the construction company at the site, “to resolve the situation as soon as possible”.
Meanwhile, occupiers at the site have said the site manager is currently refusing to talk or meet with anyone from trade union Unite, despite promising to meet reps and allow them onto the site to meet one the occupiers’ demands.
It is currently unknown how many people are currently in occupation.
More to follow.