SHAC Eviction: Dinner and Camp Out at Melbourne Uni tonight!!

At 6am this morning the students residing at 272-278 Faraday st were evicted by 30 police offices without notice.

At the time of writing SHAC residents are being moved out by private security guards.

Tonight, Tuesday 14th January, a dinner and sleep out will take place. Meet outside 272-278 Faraday street at 6pm.

More details of the eviction, watch here.


Hello all! Just a quick post. SHAC are not adverse to criticism or suggestion – in fact we think it is a really important part of SHAC and the process we’re engaging in. New ideas and different perspectives help the campaign grow and prosper.
However because we at SHAC love clarifications (though not as much as we love affordable housing) we just want to make a few in response to some of the feedback we’ve been getting. It’s not a question of right or wrong – we just want to make sure our actions and message are as clearly represented as possible.

That our call for students to come and support us whilst we’re facing eviction is a threat of violent protest.

It definitely isn’t. We are totally adverse to any violence going down. Most of our resistance involves supporters coming down just to say hello or let us know they are in solidarity with us. We’re hanging out and sleeping out in front of the house trying to create a human chain to symbolise the fact that we don’t think the eviction should occur – nor do we want it to. We’ve kept open channels of communication with the Sheriffs office about when they plan to arrive to evict and we’re trying to keep everyone posted with all the information we have. We DO NOT want this to get violent and HAVE NO PLANS for it to be. It is a peaceful resistance. Any supporters coming down DO NOT HAVE TO BE AFRAID OF VIOLENCE.

That all we want is three house in Carlton just for us.

No! Our hope has always been that the University would adopt the co-op model for wider use. We think it is a great and sustainable way for housing to be provided to low income students. What we want from the Faraday Street house is for it to be used as an example of the co-op model. We’ve had to focus on the house because asking the University to fund a co-op housing project for 500 seemed… well, unlikely to happen. I guess you could say we’ve tried to start small. Seeing as the University couldn’t even agree to a trial on the scale of 20 students, it seems our thinking was maybe correct. The reason we have the eligibility criteria and the reason we’re always running community events and inviting people to SHAC is because we want it to be open for all who need it - not just those who are there now. We want for all to get involved and for people who are low income students to move into. Not just for the viability of the project but because that is what the point of SHAC is – the Faraday St house, the campaign, everything - it's about providing housing and community to those who might not have it, those who most need it. We tried to use the Faraday Street houses to make a statement and as a tool to get the University to examine the co-op model and hopefully implement it widely. If you have a look at the presentation we made the University it talks about how the co-op widely is widely and successfully used in the U.S.A. - that is the kind of thing we'd like to see here.

That there is a limited pool of money, and using this on such a high cost per student scheme is not in any way sensible.

This is a completely reasonable point. We just want to clarify that we think there shouldn’t be a limited pool of money. The University of Melbourn has A LOT of money (just think how much they’ve spent on advertising last year alone). We want them to invest more in student housing. We’re totally opposed to the fact that the University’s proposal to us involved re-routing money from projects already in place rather than actually investing more in student housing and more in the co-op model. Nonetheless if we did this using the buildings the University has or some capital investment and the structures SHAC have put in place, housing for students that isn’t really expensive could be provided with the University recouping their costs pretty quickly. It’s part of the whole system of SHAC that investment by the University would be paid off long term. Check out the way STUCCO in Sydney works for a better idea of this. Basically - they invest in building(s) for student housing, we repay the debt, the University doesn't lose any money in the end, students have somewhere to live. The approach of the University - acting as gurantor on students renting from the private rental market - is far less economically viable.

We knocked back the University’s offer.

We didn’t. We had concerns about some elements of their proposal and wanted to continue discussing and negotiating further. It was the University who chose to not do this and instead take us to court and force an eviction order. The University chose to not move forward and shut us down. Not us.

Hopefully this will clear some things up. Keep coming back here to check on our status and what we're up to. Any questions, criticisms or messages of support are always welcome.

Footage of Emergency Rally Mon 7th Jan

Update on Eviction

After receiving conflicting information from police on Wednesday 7th January, the SHAC house is still occupied and no eviction has taken place.

Thanks to all supporters who came down to support the emergency rally.

Despite efforts to keep open the lines of communication with police, a decision could be taken for them to act at any time. We are asking our supporters to be on standby at short notice to come down and support a resistance to the eviction.

Court Update & Rally

Emergency Rally
12 noon
Wednesday 7th Jan
SHAC - 272 Faraday St Carlton

Update: On Monday 5th January, Melbourne University was granted permission by the Supreme Court to apply for a warrant to reclaim 272 Faraday St Carlton, the site of the Student Housing Action Collective (SHAC) occupation. Homeless students from Melbourne University have been running a successful housing cooperative at SHAC since 20 August 2008.

SHAC were in negotiations with the University until Thursday 18th December when the University presented a bogus offer to the students, gave them 45 minutes to sign on the dotted line, then preceded to place five private security guards outside the premises. The students refused to negotiate under conditions of duress, but made a counter offer in the following days.

The contents of the University's "offer" was that the University would pay the bond and be the guarantor for four or five share houses for a period of twelve months. The houses would have run according to SHAC's cooperative principles. SHAC would select appropriate students who would then be referred to the University's low income test and the University would subsidise the rent of these students.

The problem with this offer was that the Uni had made no commitment to funding any new subsidised places from their existing rental subsidy scheme. In effect, the students selected for the "SHAC share houses" would have been taking the places of other students who fit the Uni's low income criteria. The Uni already has a small amount of properties to house students on low incomes with slightly subsidised rent (approximately $100 per week). The SHAC students could not accept this offer in good conscience. It begs the question: what was the Uni planning to do with these properties if the subsidised students were to shift from University owned houses to share houses from the private rental market? Would the Uni have used the SHAC scheme to make their own properties vacant in order to sell them?

SHAC received notification on Friday 19th December that the Uni intended to seek a warrant for the recovery of land from the Supreme Court on Tuesday 23rd December. The students won an adjournment, with the Supreme Court Judge stating he wanted to hear about how the SHAC case relates to the new Victorian Human Rights Charter, which includes the right to housing.

Over the Christmas and New Year period, SHAC received legal advice from Barristers provided by the Public Interest Law Clearing House (PILCH). The students were unable to commit to the legal process, based on the strong likelihood that the University's legal costs (in excess of $20,000) would be awarded against them. So the SHAC students made the difficult decision not to engage with the legal process but are now preparing to resist an eviction.

SHAC is calling on their supporters to be on call to support eviction resistance. The Uni has given the final deadline of 12 noon tomorrow (Wednesday 7th January), however the Uni have not yet served a warrant on the students. It is believed that a warrant may be served sometime this week.

The students involved in the occupation are still hopeful of a positive outcome based on the amount of public awareness raised by the occupation, and the political pressure put on the University.

Victorian Trades Hall Council Secretary Brian Boyd has stated publicly that the Trades Hall Building Industry Group would take appropriate industrial action in the event of a forced eviction. This means that SHAC's fight for more affordable student housing is far from over!!

SHAC goes to court.

On Thursday the occupiers of SHAC were served with notice that the University has gone to the Supreme Court to 'recover the land' at 272-278 Faraday Streed (under Order 53).

The hearing will take place on Monday morning.

Please come to a protest out the front of the court from 9.30 am. The hearing starts at 10.30am if you want come into the court.

Bring banners, placards and colour!

SHAC will be seeking an adjournment of this hearing so there is a chance it will be delayed. The protest will go ahead regardless.

Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines...

Today Melbourne University effectively stalemated any negotiation efforts between SHAC and the Uni by sticking to the deadline of 5pm. So we are again in the situation of the negotiations being stalled by repeated eviction notices with 24-hour deadlines.

The University did not give us adequate time to respond to their offer. Last week they delivered a letter that showed their intention to engage with SHAC and gave us 24 hours to respond. We did so (within the allotted time frame). Then they then provided us with a draft proposition on Tuesday night. We had a meeting with Adrian Burrage – from the University – on Wednesday and discussed amendments. We were then provided with an updated proposal at 2pm this afternoon, which went to the SHAC collective for discussion. A few hours’ later security guards showed up to assist us in vacating!

Thus SHAC have, in effect, been forced to reject the deal as it stands.

Our hope has always been to work WITH the Uni rather than against them. Part of this is both SHAC and the Uni having an input into the way forward, discussing options and ideas, compromising. We want to find a solution that benefits low income students but that is also feasible for the University - though we do believe SHAC is both these things.

SHAC holds reservations about elements of the proposal as it stands and we want to discuss these concerns and find answers that all involved feel comfortable with. If the University stopped insisting on announcing eviction orders we might be able to advance the negotiations rather than be constantly caught in stand-offs over property. We have agreed to vacate the property when a mutually satisfactory proposal is settled upon. We feel this is a sign of good faith by SHAC and displays our readiness to compromise. Yet they still insist on these eviction orders!!! If they only resisted this urge we really could arrive at a resolution far more quickly…

We are disappointed that what had appeared to be an willingness by the Uni to engage was really just a sneaky attempt to shut us up - as shown by the enforcing of the deadline and the reluctance to continue with the necessary negotiations.

As such we're taking a stand and refusing to hand in our keys until they come back to the discussion table ready to work with us.

Unfortunately this means we now (again) are in an eviction situation. We have assurances that police and security will not be coming tonight but please be on alert, we may need to call on you to come to SHAC at very short notice.

If you want to help defend SHAC from eviction you are welcome to come sleep over in our dorms (please bring your own bedding - we have some mats but a pillow and sleeping bag would be a good idea.)

No Freeway 4 West Footscray

We got this note on the SHAC facebook group from Natalie. Thought I would pop it up here!

The SHAC campaign has been inspiring to many activists including me. Forced evictions are inhumane, especially in the current economic climate. You may be aware of another campaign that has blown up this week; the campaign against compulsory acquisitions of people's homes in West Footscray in order to build a tunnel and truck route.

The details of our meeting are:

Hyde St Footscray (Next to Maribyrnong Council)

We would love all our supporters to help us make this meeting a success.

No More Roads! No Compulsory Acquisitions!


No Freeway 4 West Footscray

Good News!

The university now wants to negotiate and will not forcibly SHAC today as planned!

We still need your support - it's the reason SHAC is still going - and will keep you updated.

Don't forget we're still an open house for people to drop by! So come have a meal or come to a meeting and add your voice to the campaign!

This is really exciting stuff everyone! If we can negotiate in a positive manner with the University it will mean that there is a house available for 25 previously homeless students! Plus it will put us in a position to work with the Uni in the future to set up more student run housing co-operative in larger or different spaces.

We think student run/student used housing co-operatives are by far the best way for housing to be provided to students, particularly those of a low income or who were previously homeless. It empowers them to take an interest and pride in their living space, builds community and support networks and also results in the learning and sharing of new skills and abilities. It means the University doesn't have to take on more administration whilst supporting homeless students and cuts out the landlord/tenant hierarchy - which means more people feel empowered and involved in their community and lives.

The University has lots of empty buildings around the place that could be renovated into housing and if not we always have the support of outside organisations and the community to find buildings in the outer suburbs that could be converted. I mention this because I think some people think we just want to live in trendy Carlton. NO! We're not that attached to a latte on Lygon Street! We're only in the building because it is owned by Melbourne Uni and we wanted to make sure they were paying attention. Plus we thought it was pretty interesting that Glyn Davis - the vice chancellor - was talking about homeless students when Melbourne Uni had empty buildings (and this one had been empty for three years with no plans for it).

Thanks again to everyone for all the support they are showing us - we really appreciate it!