Manchester Metropolitan University

Tuesday, 29th September 2015

University statement on Mancunian Way Protestors

Mancunian Way-Oxford Road Protest
Update Statement: 18/09/2015

Since early August 2015, we have observed a group of protestors assembled on land under the Mancunian Way, adjacent to Oxford Road. This land is owned by Manchester City Council, and leased to the University on a long-term basis.

Last week, the University (alongside the Council) sought and secured a Court Order confirming an unauthorised trespass, which enabled us to regain possession of this land. The ability to enforce that Court Order was confirmed in a thorough judgment in the appeal hearing on Wednesday 16th September. The High Court writ of possession was subsequently enforced this morning by High Court Bailiffs working with Greater Manchester Police, resulting in the removal of this group of protestors.

We have been working with the Council and support agencies to understand the complex nature of this situation and the group, and have satisfied ourselves that our actions would not be detrimental to genuine causes and individual needs. Throughout this period, several members of the group have been aggressive and verbally abusive to University employees. The majority of the protestors who were removed this morning are not recognised as homeless individuals, either by the City Council or by Greater Manchester Police. Members of the City Council’s homelessness team were present this morning with the offer of accommodation and support to all protestors, an option taken up by five of the group.

All members of the protest group were allowed adequate time to remove their personal possessions and larger items have been safely secured for retrieval within seven days. At no point were our security staff involved in any direct altercations with the group.

As a University, we work through multiple established channels to support homeless people in Manchester and the causes that can precipitate this. We actively work in many local areas to help local people. Our academic research is influential in supporting changes to government policies for those in need and our overall mission is firmly aligned to helping all people, and in particular those who are vulnerable and need our support.

Many members of University, students and staff, also contribute substantial amounts of private volunteering time, fundraising effort as well as donations to established charities that fight homelessness and support homeless people.

As a University community we share compassion, continue dialogue, and provide support for those in need. We have much academic expertise to bring to the understanding of the issue and the development of solutions.

Manchester Metropolitan University is one of the most extensive higher education centres in Europe with 37,000 students and more than 1,000 undergraduate, postgraduate and professional courses. The University educates and trains large numbers of legal and business professionals, scientists, engineers, teachers, health workers and creative professionals.

The University is in the top three nationally for environmental sustainability and has an 85% research impact rated world-leading and internationally excellent.

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