The Hetherington building at Glasgow University will re-open as a new teaching space after a six-month student-led occupation forced Glasgow University management to retreat from its plans to keep the former post-graduate social club closed. A public statement from the occupiers also announces management climb-downs on course cuts and compulsory redundancies.
The statement says that the most recent and decisive round of negotiations "led to concessions ensuring a new postgraduate club, no further cuts to courses and no compulsory redundancies at the University. As part of the deal secured by the Free Hetherington occupation, students will be able to quiz Principal Muscatelli directly in a mass open meeting in October over the lack of perceived transparency of management decisions at the University."
Beginning in February 2011, the occupation was the longest-running of the student sit-ins that began as part of the wave of militancy against fees and cuts in late autumn 2010. Glasgow students and local activists ran "The Free Hetherington" as a social centre and activist base, standing firm in the face of management intransigence and, at one point, a heavy-handed police eviction which saw occupiers hauled out only to re-occupy days later.
A spokesperson for the occupation said "Six months after management refused to engage with us, we’ve finally won these demands. Direct action and direct democracy work – we’ve proved that and management have accepted it, which in itself is a huge achievement."