Following the violent eviction of the peaceful and legitimate student occupation of Senate House on 4th December 2013 and a brutal attack by police on a peaceful “cops off campus” student protest yesterday, Defend the Right to Protest condemns the banning of protest by university management on campus and the seeking of injunctions against student and staff occupations. We send a strong message of solidarity with all those students targeted, beaten, arrested and suspended from their studies following their protest activity.
Staff and students have noted the increase in police presence and surveillance on university campuses over recent months. Not only are police vehicles and officers routinely stationed at entrances and exits to universities, but evidence has also emerged that police have attempted to recruit students to spy on their peers at Cambridge University. Campuses are places for inquiry and critical thinking. Students and staff who express dissent at the increasing marketization of education and demonstrate their solidarity with university staff should not be threatened with or subjected to violence and arrest.
We call for an end to injunctions against protest on university campuses and occupations of university buildings.
We demand an end to cooperation between university management and the police and insist that management should cease its authorization of the violent repression of dissent on campus. Management should engage in meaningful dialogue with student activists who have raised legitimate concerns about the marketization of education and the work conditions of university employees.
We demand the immediate retraction of the decision to suspend 5 Sussex University students who occupied a university building in solidarity with the UCU, Unite and Unison strike over fair pay in higher education on 3rd December 2013.