The right to protest

On 25 January 2012, BUCU adopted the following motion:

This branch recognises the increasingly draconian approach that the leadership of the University of Birmingham is taking to expressions of student and staff dissent.

This branch believes that student and staff dissent is particularly well founded at present, given the University of Birmingham’s consistent support for the Government’s Higher Education policy, which is leading to a disastrous process of commercialisation and falling student numbers in many important disciplines, and only appears to benefit those at the very top of the HE system who gain through extraordinarily large remuneration packages.

This branch opposes all attempts by the University to outlaw or prevent non-violent protest at the University of Birmingham.

This branch stands in solidarity with and will actively campaign to support any member of the University community (staff or student) who is targeted by the University leadership for expressing legitimate dissent.

This branch notes the current attempt by the University to discipline an undergraduate student, who was only himself known by the University as a result of his claim that he was physical assaulted by representatives of the University.

This branch stands in solidarity with this student and opposes absolutely any threat by the University to expel student campaigners seeking to defend the quality of higher education at this University. We believe that this threat is callous, intimidating, disproportionate and damaging to the reputation of the University.

We note that there are claims made by Liberty and Amnesty International criticising the University’s actions.

This branch also stands in solidarity with the students of this University at the demonstration on February 15th and agrees to support any decision taken by the Guild against this injustice.

**UPDATE** – A full 70 days after the February the 15th Protest Against the Ban on Protests, the university has initiated disciplinary investigations into an unknown number of students in attendance at the demonstration. They have informed them that they “might have breached one or more university regulations” and have summoned the students to meetings to be asked questions. More details here.

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