On Saturday, June 8th, after a ten day campaign unique in the history of the University of Hull, the overwhelming majority of students voted at a Union general meeting to occupy the administration buildings. For once, Union policy was promptly implemented; by Saturday night the power-centre of the University had been taken over; a sign on the entrance, ‘Under New Management’, announced this new fact of life.
Yet only a few weeks before the event, few students at Hull would have imagined student power being demonstrated in Humberside. At that time Hull students seemed to reflect the passive and inert nature of most other students in the country, and the actions of Paris seemed far away.
But suddenly that scene changed dramatically, and more than a thousand students were involved during the campaign. This, of course, was profoundly disturbing for the bureaucrats on all sides, i.e. University administrators and the Students’ union. Naturally, bureaucrats fear nothing more than spontaneity—people acting for themselves.
The initial ‘sit-in’ (May 30th) only lasted a few hours, and after a tactical withdrawal the next stage of the campaign began by setting up commissions responsible to general meetings of the Union. These commissions in effect, posed an alternative model of organization to the traditional students’ union bureaucracy (of council and executive). During the next ten days ‘the campus’ at Hull became the centre of continuous debate, discussion and argument—the political character of the student body had been transformed. What was once a corpse, was now a vigorous body. In spite of exams, numbers at general meetings of the Union exceeded 800 and they continually reiterated their support for
After 10 days of procrastination by the Senate, and compromise by the students, we finally re-occupied the administration centre on Saturday, June 8th. The sit-in lasted five and a half days.