The occupations at Manchester and Sheffield Universities began at the end of April, and ended on Friday 7 May and Tuesday 11 May respectively. On social media, the Manchester occupiers claimed theirs was the longest occupation in Manchester since the 1970s, and promised “new radical tactics” would follow.
The occupiers explained that Manchester University’s threat of legal action “could criminalise further occupations and lead to violent evictions”. They also claimed to have been threatened with disciplinary action by the University.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Sheffield University told The Courier “The University of Sheffield supports the ability of students to express their views peacefully within the law.”
“However, the University does not condone occupation of a building which causes disruption for other students.”
The occupations took place as part of ongoing rent strikes, and were also motivated by concerns over how the four affected universities have treated students during the pandemic.
The other two occupations are at Nottingham and Sheffield Hallam Universities.
At the end of April, footage emerged of a security guard pinning an occupier down by putting their knee on the occupier’s back. Another occupier was held to the floor by the back of their neck by a different security guard.
At the time, Sheffield Hallam University said in a statement it was investigating.
Representatives from all four universities and occupations have been approached for comment.