STUDENTS from Middlesex University declared yesterday that the only way to defend their threatened Trent Park Campus and their neighbouring local hospital, Chase Farm, also threatened with closure, was to occupy both the hospital and the campus buildings.
Music student Lizzi Hemsley told News Line: ‘There are plans to occupy the mansion building on Trent Park campus to stop the closure of our site.
‘They say that they are moving us to the Hendon campus but the rooms at Hendon for Educational Studies have not even been refurbished yet!
‘Anyway Hendon would not cope with the influx of students. Hendon campus itself will be overcrowded and our social life will decline because the students union is not big enough.
‘On the issue of Chase Farm hospital it is of convenience for the students that are studying at Trent Park.
‘When there was an incident in the halls the ambulance staff arrived quickly to deal with the situation.’
Charlie Gardner, a first year Theatre Arts student, added: ‘Just last night I took a friend of mine to Chase Farm hospital. She was in agony with stomach pains and we had nowhere else to go.
‘Where else is there to go?! Barnet is many miles away!
‘Students rely on Chase Farm hospital, it is our closest A&E. This term alone four students have had to go in to the A&E.
‘We are prepared to come and join in the struggle at Chase Farm hospital to keep it open.’
Daniel Lucas, also studying Theatre Arts, confirmed: ‘A delegation of us theatre students will come down to the Chase Farm picket tomorrow because it is needed! We will make our own sign tonight.’
On the issue of the threatened closure of Trent Park campus Daniel Lucus said: ‘Trent Park campus should definitely be defended. When we had a mass meeting of all of the years to discuss the move we could not even get a written guarantee from the Vice Chancellor that we would get all the facilities that were promised to us.
‘It is ridiculous the amount of lecturers that we have lost already!
‘High quality professionals have lost jobs and we supported them in their strike action against the sackings.
‘A lot of people would be prepared to occupy buildings on Trent Park campus to stop the closure of our campus.
‘Second years have already invested with two year contracts in their housing. They have contracts with landlords and they can not move.
‘Our biggest problem is finding housing because there is nowhere to live in Hendon, all the accommodation has already been taken. If we look outside the Hendon area then they say we are encroaching on other colleges accommodation. We have to take action!’
Andy Pellett, also studying Theatre Arts, said: ‘We are angry because we were not told we would have to move campus when we signed up to the course.
‘We have our own theatre here on campus. We have specialised rooms that can be modified for any performance.
‘This campus is inspirational for developing ideas for plays because it is so historical and Green.
‘There is so much space and our courses have built up a reputation at this campus for being really good.’
Priscilla, studying popular music, said: ‘It is a real shame that they are closing down Trent Park campus.
‘This is such a nice area to study, it has such good scenery, green fields and trees and hedges and space.
‘There are not many places in London which are not urban and polluted.
‘This has been designated educational land and the Mansion building is a listed building. They want to sell off this place for money.
‘If we all get transferred to Hendon we will all be cramped, there are already so many people there it is at capacity.
‘Class sizes will be enormous and there will be no one to one time with lecturers.
‘I do not agree with the shutting down of Trent Park and will do anything in my power to put a stop to it.’
Rob Edgar, a third year music student, was extremely angry at the proposed closure of Chase Farm. He said: ‘The closure of Chase Farm hospital will particularly affect the elderly and vulnerable.
‘If they close down the hospital it is no good at all, it is the closest hospital that they can receive care at.
‘I think that this is all about saving money at the expense of peoples health, so I am coming down to the picket on Friday to join in and help.’
Third year student, Cordelia Hortence, studying music management said: ‘I agree with the call to occupy Chase Farm hospital to stop the closure. I had to use Chase Farm hospital in my first year because I thought I had meningitis, there were other cases in the halls of residence and I was really scared. Chase Farm hospital dealt with me immediately and it was reassuring that the hospital was so close by to our campus.
‘If they try and close down our hospital and you want to occupy the hospital to stop them then just call on me and I will organise students to come down and assist in any way we can.’
Fran O’Toole a second year theatre arts student said: ‘I have lived in Enfield for fifteen years and I am aware of the struggle at Chase Farm and I agree with what you are doing.
‘My sister was born at Chase Farm hospital and this is where we have always gone if we need to use the A&E.
‘It is the only local hospital for anyone living in Enfield otherwise you would have to go to North Middlesex and that is a lot further away. I support the struggle to occupy Chase Farm hospital to keep the hospital open and I support your struggle.’
Her friend Luke Cresswell also studying Theatre Arts, added: ‘The extra distance could well be the difference between life and death for certain emergency cases!’
Alice Bridge, studying music management, said: ‘We need to occupy Trent Park to stop our site being shut!
‘How dare they declare they are going to close everything down in the middle of our courses. The NUS here have to call an occupation and if they do not we will anyway!
‘I can’t believe they are going to break up such a historic site, we are fighting for our education, our dignity, for the future generations!
‘I paid three thousand pounds out of money that I had saved and for what!
‘University must be free they have to stop trying to turn education into a business.’