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 the eight demands. But although the demands were reformist in many respects, they soon came to assume some ‘revolutionary’ implications. The demand for representation became the demand for equal representation—and this in turn became our central demand, and remains union policy even after the sit-in. The main governing board of Hull University is the Senate (composed of 47 members of the academic hierarchy); so we decided to elect 47 student senators who would take their place on senate within one week (after May 31st—General Meeting of Union)—or else we would take direct action.

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.

Thursday, May 30th. The Socialist Society expresses solidarity with the French students. Hull students also air grievances and dissatisfaction with this University. A march to administration block and subsequent ‘sit-in’ takes place, students holding open discussion with the V.C. A first outline of the eight points to be delivered to Senate is drawn up. The name May 30th Committee is given to this movement of Hull students for spontaneous and independent organization. In the evening commissions are proposed to clarify the situation and to make information available to students throughout the University.

Friday, May 31st. An unofficial meeting of over 700 students discusses the eight points outlined the previous day and subjects them to formal ratification at the next Union meeting. Commissions are set up to investigate and report on the various demands. The meeting demands that Senate meet by the following Wednesday to discuss seating our Union Senators at a further meeting on Friday, and 60 Union Senators are elected.