28 September 2016
Dear colleagues and students
The situation we face on campus is dire.
We suspended classes for the week to allow for multiple and system-deep engagements with staff and students. Thousands of students and staff are engaging with each other and trying to find possible solutions and a way forward so that our institution can open again. The senior leadership group has worked around the clock in multiple meetings and engagements in an attempt to make progress. We committed to a low security profile on campus this week with the express intention of giving these engagements every opportunity to work. Our intention was to find a way forward with an institutional reconciliatory process in order to encourage campus-wide commitment to reopening the university on Monday, 3 October, and to avoid the devastating academic and other consequences.
However, yesterday, and again this morning, we have seen a group of protesters behaving in an unlawful, intolerant and unacceptable manner. Groups of protesters have entered university work spaces and are forcing staff out of their offices. Their actions are intimidating and traumatising staff. Jammie Shuttle operations have come to a standstill as protesters have been threatening drivers and stealing the keys. This leaves passengers stranded and traumatised. Traffic booms are being interfered with and entrances to various parts of campus are continually being blocked.
In light of the above, the decision has been made to close the campus today and staff are asked to speak to their line managers to agree on modes of working from a safer space. If a staff member wants to continue working on campus, and feels that it is safe to do so in their particular case, they may do so provided that it is approved by their line manager. In light of the low security on campus, we urge you to ensure your own safety first.
We still encourage all staff and students to expand the engagements as far and as safely as possible. We do not wish to close down the engagements, but the campus will be closed in order to avoid any further intimidation or trauma and to reduce the potential for conflict and violence.
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