365.360° Day 17
A student is seen through a window of Glasgow University’s Hetherington House.
The house has been the subject of an ongoing occupation by students, staff and the local community which began on 1 February 2011 (see below).
The occupation is referred to by some within the University and the occupants themselves as the ‘Free Hetherington’. The occupation is intended as a protest against cuts to higher education within Glasgow University and nationwide. The occupation hosts an ongoing schedule of talks, film showings and discussion sessions. The protesters were briefly evicted in late March but soon re-occupied the building.
The University is proceeding to implement some of its proposed cuts, though the plans have been scaled back in some areas. The occupation claims this is “due to the hard work of students, staff and of the local community, who have campaigned diligently.”
Although the building lay empty for one year, The University of Glasgow has stated that the occupation is preventing plans to re-develop the building for educational purposes. The University hoped that the building would be in use again for the 2011-2012 session.
The Glasgow University Guardian reported that, between 1 February and 20 April 2011, the estimated cost of the occupation to the university was almost £10,000.
Several notable figures have visited and supported the occupation including singer-songwriter Billy Bragg, comedian Jeremy Hardy, and film and television director Ken Loach.
The occupation has faced criticism from groups and individuals on campus including both of the University’s Student Unions, the Glasgow University Union and Queen Margaret Union, as well as the Students’ Representative Council.