Students at Sussex university were forcibly evicted last week from their occupation and now 5 student activists have been suspended.
Now students and staff protesting at University Of London have been kettled and arrested.
These are disproportionate responses to the legitimate protest and a blatant act of public intimidation to try and prevent further protest.
The values of the higher education system in the UK are being undermined in the name of a half-cocked ideologically driven government policy that was not in the manifesto of either of the two coalition parties who did not win the last election.
Protest and civil disobedience are an entirely legitimate response to the situation and we should be proud that our young people have the courage and commitment to fight.
Perhaps if university Vice Chancellors had done so back in 2010 we wouldn’t be in this mess.
So please consider adding your name to the statement below and forwarding it to your networks.
Whether you are a trade union activist, academic, student or just concerned for the future of our universities and democratic rights, please add your name by emailing Molly Cooper firstname.lastname@example.org
The aim will be to get this into the Guardian and get wider circulation. Names for the Guardian statement deadline will be 1pm.
DEFEND THE RIGHT TO PROTEST AT UNIVERSITY OF LONDON
We, the undersigned, unreservedly condemn the escalating use of police against peaceful protests at the University of London.
On 4 December, students were violently evicted from Senate House, University of London (UoL), by private security and police. On 5 December, a protest march in Bloomsbury in their support, calling for ‘cops off campus’, was attacked and kettled by police, and over 30 staff and students were arrested.
We believe this marks an escalation in the level of force against student-led protests at the University of London which threatens the ethos of the University.
It seems clear that UoL Management are not negotiating with students and staff who protest – including occupying students – but are simply attempting to suppress dissent. We condemn the blanket injunction brought by the UoL against demonstrations or occupations across their many campuses.
We call on all who care about the future of our Universities to object to this invited invasion of the police onto campuses. Police intimidation has no place in a seat of learning. Many staff and students have fled repressive regimes. We are horrified at supposedly ‘liberal’ university managements adopting these tactics.
We demand an immediate repudiation of the injunction by UoL Management, no more police on campus, and for UoL Management to engage with students and staff about the concerns that led to the protests in the first place.
Molly Cooper, UNISON Service Group Executive
Sean Wallis, UCU NEC & UCL UCU President
To add your name, email Molly Cooper email@example.com