Marketization and privatisation of education go hand in hand with increasing levels of repression and lack of democracy on campuses.
In order to push through neo-liberal measures university managements have refused to engage in dialogue. When students protest to make their voices heard, managements quickly shut discussion down. This is why cops are on campuses.
We have seen the violent eviction of the Senate House protest, alleged racial profiling by police at Royal Holloway, the use of mass arrests alongside suspensions, threats of disciplinary measures at Birmingham and Sussex and injunctions to ban protest.
These attacks are also designed to undermine solidarity between students and staff who are also facing attacks on conditions, pay and the right to organise.
Is this what universities should look like? What happened to academic communities being free spaces where dissent and critical thinking take place?
Challenging police repression of students is a vital part of resisting marketisation and cuts to education, but it also exposes a wider injustice that must be challenged. Police repression and harassment in black and working class communities is a daily reality from stop and search to racism and deaths in custody.
Mark Duggan was an unarmed man who was shot and killed by police in 2011. Since then the media and police have portrayed him as a ‘thug’ in order to silence those questioning the suspicious circumstances of his death.
The police who repress student protest, who almost killed Alfie Meadows on a student protest in 2010, are the same ones who kill unarmed black men; we want cops off our campuses but we should also be part of building solidarity with others fighting injustice and violence at the hands of the police.