At noon today, 36 hours after the occupation started, we secured a meeting with University officials where negotiation of demands would begin.
We have since entered into formal negotiations with a small delegation of officials from Cambridge University which includes the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education, the Registrary, the Chairman of the Law Faculty and the Senior Proctor. We are pleased that the University agreed to begin the negotiation process on the weekend as we are keen to minimise disruption to University lectures.
The University authorities asked us to send three delegates with whom they would engage behind closed doors. However, the group felt that it was important for our principles of democratic representation to be maintained during negotiations with University authorities, and that all students who wished should be allowed to attend the negotiations in person.
As a compromise, we elected four delegates to act as spokespeople who were given a mandate to negotiate with University officials on behalf of our collective within a public forum, where everyone interested could be present. This would ensure accountability while allowing a focused and productive discussion. However, the University refused this proposition.
The delegation of University officials recognised us as “a large occupation”. Although the University delegates did not deny the need for an accountable forum, they felt that the presence of so many students (a full lecture hall) would be intimidating.
Dialogue continues through a formal written exchange. Once we receive an official statement from the University delegation we will discuss their proposals and vote on them through direct democracy. We now await their official statement in writing.