Dear all UCL occupiers,
My name is Alan Hill, and I am a former UCL student and one of the 8 Occupation leaders of the UCL occupations of 1999 and 2000.
I would like to voice a tremendous message of support for you all in your bold and courageous action – you are making a clear statement to the government and the public about what you believe in.
Believe me – you are supported by many more like me (and my good old friend Dan Ozarow who already posted his support!) – we are just two people posting our support out of the over 500 fellow occupiers who stood up – like you do now – for justice and fairness all those years ago.
You are privileged to be a part of a University that was the first to admit women, blacks and non-Christians. UCL has a history of standing up and being different, and now you are writing your own page of UCL History, just as we did 10 and 11 years ago when we occupied in defiance of the government’s introduction of fees and abolition of grants.
We set up the ‘grants not fees’ society, we then engaged with UCL Union, eventually adding dozens of councillors, several execs and a full time sabbatical student. The waves of what we did were felt for several years after those two years of occupations, as students who had found something in themselves while facing those challenges ended up discovering a fire that burned within – a fire burning for justice, equality and fairness for all, regardless of background. UCL union was changed for over 5 years – and why do I mention this? It’s to offer you the gift of our hindsight, that allows you all to realise that what you do now has a tremendous impact on the future. It does matter – regardless of what some of your fellow students might be saying.
Listen and engage with people who disagree – some of our strongest opponents actually came and joined us in the end when they realised the full picture.
Invite people in, enjoy the company of new friend you will be making, celebrate your success in bringing together a group of people united for one cause, and then stick together. This is bigger than just one occupation.
Ours changed us forever.
Best of luck, yours in solidarity and support,
Alan P Hill,
Former President UCLU ‘Grants Not Fees’ Society. UCL (Linguistics 1998-2001)