Issue 17: 12 September 2008


DAY ONE – Monday 16th Sept.
3.30 pm: A rally of around 400 students led by the Education Action Group converges on the site of the fee-setting Council meeting in the Architecture building.
4.00 pm: After half an hour of chanting to the sound of a Cook Island drumming group, students claim a victory as University Vice-Chancellor Kit Carson defers the meeting to mid-October. The meeting was likely to have set the fee increase at 18%. Students depart, heading quickly for Registry.
4.08 pm: Students are barred from entering the Registry.
4.20 pm: A glass-panelled door is broken, and students gain entrance to a Registry office. The two staff members present refuse to unlock the internal door to let them through to the corridor.
4.35 pm: On the advice of the police, the main doors are opened and protestors flood into the Registry.
The Evening: The occupation makes both prime-time television news stations and all major radio stations. 150 students bed down for the night.

DAY TWO – Tuesday 17th Sept.
7.00 am: Occupiers awake to a front page NZ Herald Article.
10.30 am: Paul Holmes arrives, the media circus gains momentum.

DAY THREE – Wednesday 18th Sept.
11.00 am: The planned meeting with the three University Council members lasts five minutes. A response to the Alternative Budget is handed to student negotiators, and promptly deemed “inadequate” in content.
1.00 pm: Around 500 students and staff rally at the Registry in support of the occupiers.

Extracts from “Students Occupy Registry Demanding No Fee Increase”, Craccum, 21-23 September 1995, p.9.

The official student occupation of the Registry Building from September 16-23 ended with both sides agreeing to collaborate on a joint working party to investigate the level of the 1997 fee.

The occupation occurred because students were concerned Council was about to approve a tuition fee rise of $378 (18%).

The University was caught in a difficult position. On the one hand, it has itself been critical of the impact of government policies which have seen state funding of universities dwindling. Professor Carson estimates that the University of Auckland has absorbed around $112 million as a result of falling government funding between 1992 and 1995. “We have experienced reduced subsidies from the government and have had to absorb additional costs such as inflation, compliance costs, increases in salaries and an unfunded load of students,” he said during the press conference that marked the end of the occupation. On the other hand, students were demanding a nil fee increase, in the belief that the University could subsidise such a measure by abandoning its $5 million surplus.

Extracts from “Registry Occupation”, University of Auckland News, 26, 8, 1996, p.2.