UK Academic Staff Statement Against the Criminalisation of Protest

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Statement by UK Academic Staff Against the Criminalisation of Protest

(9 December 2021)

 [To sign please email]

Last week marked a threshold in the long-running assault on students’ rights and on the future of public education in general.

Students across the country continue to protest, with good reason, against the ongoing marketisation and privatisation of education. They continue to protest, with good reason, this government’s deceitful decision to saddle them with a lifetime of variable-interest debt, and to filter future access to education according to wealth and class.

For some months now, University of London students have also protested against the indefensible working conditions of many UL staff, and against the decision that UL management took last spring to close the University of London Union (ULU). This was a major and deliberate blow aimed at student politics. ULU’s position and size have allowed it to play a unique coordinating role for political action in recent years, especially during the protests of 2010-11, and no doubt UL managers have been looking for ways to get rid of it ever since.

Managers at UL and other UK universities have responded to recent protests from students and staff by inviting the police to crush them, and by criminalising any effective expression of dissent.

We the undersigned recognise the right of all students and staff to protest against these and related measures. We send an unequivocal message of solidarity with all those students targeted, beaten, arrested and suspended from their studies following their protest activity.

We condemn in the strongest terms the decision taken by UL management to respond to last week’s protests with an aggressive police assault and mass arrests. We condemn as extraordinary and despicable UL’s recent request for an injunction that may ban its students from protesting on campus for six months.

We also condemn the remarkable surge in police presence and surveillance across university campuses over recent months. Not only are police vehicles and officers routinely stationed at entrances and exits to universities, but strong 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 marketisation of education and who demonstrate their solidarity with highly exploited colleagues should not be threatened with or subjected to violence and arrest.

We call for an immediate end to injunctions against protest on university campuses and occupations of university buildings. We demand that management cease its authorisation of the violent repression of dissent on campus. We demand in particular an end to the persecution of UL students determined to defend their student union, and demand the immediate retraction of the decision to suspend 5 Sussex University students who campaigned in solidarity with the UCU, Unite and Unison strike over fair pay in higher education on 3rd December 2013 [Note: as of the afternoon of the 9th December Sussex University have removed the suspension but are proceeding with disciplinary action against these same students].

We encourage everyone to participate in the next national day of action, planned for the afternoon of Wednesday 11 December.

We encourage colleagues across the country to press for a vote of no-confidence in any university administration that colludes in the repression of protest, and we call on all university staff to stand shoulder to shoulder with students as we resist, together, the ongoing assault on what’s left of public education.

Gilbert Achcar, Professor of Development Studies, SOAS, University of London
Nadje Al-Ali, Professor of Gender Studies, SOAS
Donatella Alessandrini, Reader in Law, Kent Law School
Eric Alliez, Professor of Philosophy, Kingston University London
Alexander Anievas, Research Fellow, University of Cambridge
Harriet Archer, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, Newcastle University
Andrew Asibong, Senior Lecturer in French Studies, Birkbeck, University of London
Bruce E. Baker, Lecturer in American History, Newcastle University
Giles Bailey, Lecturer in Fine Art, Newcastle University
Claudia Baldoli, Senior Lecturer in European History, Newcastle University
Lauren Banko, Senior Teaching Fellow in History, SOAS
Chimene Bateman, Fellow in French, New College, University of Oxford
Duncan Bell, Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge
Patrizia di Bello, Senior Lecturer, History and Theory of Photography,
Birkbeck University of London
Brenna Bhandar, Senior Lecturer in Law, SOAS
Bill Bowring, Professor of Law, Birkbeck College
Luisa Calè, Senior Lecturer in Romantic Studies, Department of English and Humanities, Birkbeck
Alex Callinicos, Professor of European Studies, King’s College London
Deborah Cameron, Professor of Language and Communication, University of Oxford
Sarah Campbell, Lecturer in History, Newcastle University
Simon Choat, Senior Lecturer in Politics & IR, Kingston University
Jonathan Chu, Senior Lecturer in Dance, Kingston University
Radu Cinpoes, Senior Lecturer in Politics, Human rights and International Relations, Kingston University
Nicola Clarke, Lecturer in the History of the Islamic World, Newcastle University
Gareth Dale, Senior Lecturer in Politics, Brunel University
Jan Deckers, Senior Lecturer, Newcastle University
Patrick Degenaar, Reader in Biomedical Engineering, Newcastle University
Martin Dines, Senior Lecturer in English Literature, Kingston University London
Ted Donchev, Senior Lecturer in Civil Engineering, Kingston University
James Eastwood, Graduate Teaching Assistant, SOAS
Başak Ertür, Lecturer in Law, Birkbeck College
Martin Farr, Senior Lecturer, School of History, Classics and Archaeology, Newcastle University
Peter Finn, Visiting Lecturer in Politics, Kingston University
Adam Gearey, Professor of Law, Birkbeck College
Korina Giaxoglou, Senior Lecturer in English Language and Communication,Kingston University
Jeremy Gilbert, Professor of Cultural and Political Theory, University of East London
Robert Gildea FBA, Professor of Modern History, University of Oxford
Carlie Goldsmith, Senior Lecturer in Criminology, Kingston University
Chris Gutkind, Assistant Librarian - Reader Services, SOAS
Katharine Halls, Instructor in Arabic, University of Oxford
Peter Hallward, Professor of Modern European Philosophy, Kingston University London
Carrie Hamilton, Reader in History, University of Roehampton
S.J. Hannahs, Senior Lecturer in Linguistics, Newcastle University
Richard Hatcher, Professor of Education, Birmingham City University
Sue Hawkins, Lecturer in History, Kingston University London
Judith Hawley, Professor of English, Royal Holloway, University of London.
Sian Hawthorne, Lecturer in Critical Theory and the Study of Religions, SOAS
Gina Heathcote, Lecturer in Gender Studies and International Law, SOAS
James Hellings, Senior Lecturer Fine Art, Birmingham City University
Yaiza Hernández, Lecturer in Art, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London
Bennett Hogg, School of Arts and Cultures, Newcastle University
Chris Horrocks, Principal Lecturer in Art History, Kingston University
Katherine Ibbett, Reader in Early Modern Studies, UCL
Atsuko Ichijo, Senior Lecturer in Politics, Kingston University
Marina Isaac, Tutor, Kingston University
Amber Jacobs, Lecturer in Psychosocial Studies, Birkbeck College
Matt Jenkins, Teaching Assistant, University of Newcastle
Meg Jensen, Principal Lecturer, English Literature and Creative Writing, Kingston University
Sarah Keenan, Lecturer in Law, SOAS
Anna Kemp, Lecturer in French, Queen Mary University of London
Debbie King, EAP teacher, SOAS
Stathis Kouvelakis, Reader in Political Theory, King’s College London
Lars Peter Laamann, Lecturer in History, SOAS
Pablo Lafuente, Reader in Art, Context and Theory, Central Saint Martins
Sarah Lamble, Lecturer in Law, Birkbeck College
Marina Lambrou, Principal Lecturer in English Language and Communication, Kingston University
Amanda Latimer, Sessional Lecturer in Politics & International Relations, Kingston University
David Lawrence, Principal Lecturer, School of Art & Design History, Kingston University
Neil Lazarus, Professor of English and Comparative Literary Studies, University of Warwick
David Leat, Professor of Curriculum Innovation, Newcastle University
M F Makeen, Senior Lecturer in Law, SOAS
Christian März, Lecturer in Geosciences, Newcastle University
William McEvoy, Lecturer in Drama and English, University of Sussex
Alex Mermikides, Senior Lecturer in Drama, Kingston University
Alessandra Mezzadri, Lecturer in Development Studies, SOAS
Paul Micklethwaite, Senior Research Fellow in Design, Kingston University
Az Mohammed, Learning Spaces Specialist, Newcastle University
Nicola Montagna, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Middlesex University
Douglas Morrey, Senior Lecturer in French, University of Warwick
David Morris, Associate Lecturer, UAL
Fidelma Murphy, Senior Lecturer in Economics, Kingston University
François Nectoux, Professor of Contemporary European Studies, Kingston University London
Paolo Novak, Lecturer in Development Studies, SOAS
Peter Osborne, Professor of Modern European Philosophy, Kingston University London
William Outhwaite, Professor of Sociology, Newcastle University
Richard Overy, Professor of History, University of Exeter
Gill Paczynski –Institute Manager, Newcastle University
Benita Parry, Emeritus professor of English, University of Warwick
Diana Paton, Reader in Caribbean History, Newcastle University
Alex Perrin, Lecturer in TV and Film Studies, Kingston University
Robin T. Pettitt, Senior Lecturer in Comparative Politics, Kingston University
Winsome Pinnock, Senior Lecturer in Drama and Creative Writing, Kingston University
Kay Pollock, Principal Lecturer in Economics, Kingston University
Maria Ponto, Principal Lecturer, Kingston University London
Nina Power, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Roehampton
Alejandro Quiroga, Reader in Spanish History, Newcastle University
Manjeet Ramgotra, Senior Teaching Fellow in Politics, SOAS
Sam Raphael, Senior Lecturer in Politics and IR, Kingston University
Deana Rankin, Senior Lecturer in English, Royal Holloway
Trish Reid, Deputy Head of School, Performance and Screen Studies
Lucy Renton, Principal Lecturer, Kingston University
David Rogers, Director of The Kingston Writing School, Kingston University
Sinéad Rushe, Lecturer, Acting and Movement, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
Leticia Sabsay, Research Associate, The Open University
Meera Sabaratnam, Lecturer in International Relations, SOAS
Sanjiv Sachdev, Senior Lecturer in Management, Kingston University London
Renata Salecl, professor in Law, Birkbeck college
Stella Sandford, Reader in Philosophy, Kingston University
Emma Sandon, Lecturer in Film and Television, Birkbeck
Samiksha Sehrawat, Lecturer in the History of Medicine and South Asia, Newcastle University
Andrew Shail, Senior Lecturer in Film, Newcastle University
John Shearer, Teaching Fellow in Computing Science, Newcastle University
Jalal Uddin Siddiki, Senior Lecturer in Economics, Kingston University
Fleeta J Chew Siegel, Senior Lecturer, Kingston Univeristy
Jackie Smart, Principal Lecturer in Drama, Kingston University London
Lucy Steeds, Pathway Leader in MA Art: Exhibition Studies, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London
Engelbert Stockhammer, Professor in Economics, Kingston University
Marie Cecilie Stern-Peltz, School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics, Newcastle University
Adam Stock, Post-Doctoral Research Associate in the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics, Newcastle University
Mayur Suresh, Sessional Lecturer, Birkbeck, University of London
Katie Lloyd Thomas, Lecturer in Architecture, Newcastle University
Peter D. Thomas, Lecturer in the History of Political Thought, Brunel University
Jelena Timotijevic, Principal Lecturer in Linguistics, University of Brighton
Dave Tinham, Visiting Lecturer in Politics, Kingston University London
Liz Todd, Professor of Educational Inclusion, Newcastle University
Alberto Toscano, Reader in Critical Theory, Goldsmiths
Kate Tunstall, Lecturer in French, University of Oxford
Elisa Van Waeyenberge, Lecturer in Economics, SOAS
Sally Waite, Teaching Fellow in Classics, Newcastle University
Jeffery R. Webber, Senior Lecturer, Queen Mary University of London
Julian Wells, Director of Studies in Economics, Kingston University
Luke Williams, Lecturer in Creative Writing, Birkbeck
Graeme Wilson, Senior Research Associate, Newcastle University

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2 thoughts on “UK Academic Staff Statement Against the Criminalisation of Protest

  • At first they came for the students
    but I did not speak out
    because I wasn’t a student.

    Then they came for trade unionists and immigrant cleaners
    but I did not speak out
    since I wasn’t a cleaner or in the union.

    Then they came for academics and thinkers
    but I did not speak out
    because I wasn’t one of them either.

    Then they came for journalists and whistleblowers
    but I did not speak out
    because wasn’t one of those.

    Then they came for other’s concerned
    but I did not speak out
    since I wasn’t yet concerned.

    Then they came for me
    but there wasn’t anyone left
    to speak out for me.

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