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Student Occupations are not a crime! Rescind the injunction; drop any criminal charges against students
  • Petitioned Michael Farthing

This petition was delivered to:

Vice Chancellor, Sussex University
Michael Farthing

Student Occupations are not a crime! Rescind the injunction; drop any criminal charges against students

    1. Petition by

      Defend the Right to Protest

We, the undersigned,  strongly condemn the eviction of students occupying Sussex University in opposition to privatisation plans, including the use of up to 100 police. some in full riot gear, accompanied by vans, bailiffs and private security guards to remove protesters from their own campus. The 8 week long occupation has been a source of inspiration for students and staff at Sussex and beyond at a time when education is under attack.

Instead of engaging with the arguments and alternatives being raised by the university community the university management has resorted to the draconian measure of imposing a blanket protest ban (all protest banned without prior consent of university management) until the new academic year referring to the widely supported occupation as "unlawful". This was supported by the courts on the basis that , “whether the occupation of Bramber House has been peaceful or not, there is no arguable legal defence for the protesters. The continuation of the protest would be a breach of the University’s property rights.”

The police have now arrested and charged four students. They are also investigating one student for violent disorder. This charge carries a maximum sentence of 5 years. It was used to secure prison sentences against students who opposed the tripling of fees in autumn 2010, including a former University of Sussex student.  A student protester Alfie Meadows was charged with violent disorder after the 2010 student protest. A victim of police violence himself, it took Alfie Meadows two years to clear his name of this charge.

We will not stand by and watch a repeat of such punishments against students who have had the courage to take a stand in support of education and the welfare of university staff.

 As Sussex University staff have stated: "The management’s protestation that it will tolerate “peaceful” protest is an insult to the students and workers whose right to assemble and demonstrate as they see fit has just been suppressed. A right is not a right if it waits on the decision of another. This university is not the property of the management. Without students, lecturers and support staff there is no university. We therefore also hope that today is the beginning of a sustained campaign by students and workers to undermine and repeal this authoritarian measure."

 We call on university management to rescind the injunction immediately and for any criminal charges against student protesters to be dropped.

Initiated by Defend the Right to Protest - www.defendtherighttoprotest.org

Supported by Sally Hunt UCU General Secretary, Caroline Lucas MP, Rob French University of Sussex UCU joint vice-president, Maria Da Silva Education officer, Sussex Students' Union,  Jelena Timotijevic Convenor, Defend the Right to Protest Campaign, UCU NEC and Brighton UCU, Tom Hickey UCU NEC and Brighton UCU

To:
Michael Farthing, Vice Chancellor, Sussex University
Michael Farthing, VC Sussex University

Defend the Right to Protest and others

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Recent signatures

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    1. Reached 3,000 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Luke Dukinfield WAKEFIELD, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 7 months ago

      This injustice cannot be tolerated - no crime has been committed, and it is nefarious to subject those who are championing their beliefs peacefully to unlawful action, arrest and violence.

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    • Illary Valenzuela Oblitas LAS PALMAS, SPAIN
      • about 1 year ago

      We defend the right to occupy and protest against the crime of privatizing education, stealing and making a business out of it, as well as condemning students for their rest of their lives. Once we react passively and pay for education, we are forced to believe that this passivity is part of our role as slaves of the system.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Kristin Muldal BRIGHTON, UNITED KINGDOM
      • about 1 year ago

      People have the right to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression – the University's decision to ban all forms of protest is an outrageous infringement on these rights

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    • Suha Jarrar BRIGHTON, UNITED KINGDOM
      • about 1 year ago

      Because defending the right to protest is not a gesture; it's an obligation, and because protesting/ student occupations are not crime, while police brutality is.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Gwyneth Jones BRIGHTON AND HOVE, UNITED KINGDOM
      • about 1 year ago

      The criminalisation of protest, and a Vice Chancellor's invocation of massive police intimidation and harrassment, on a university campus is just totally unacceptable

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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