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Remove Suspension from King's College Climate Emergency Activist

This petition had 362 supporters

We demand that the suspension and ban from entering King's College applied to Roger Hallam, after taking part in a King's College Climate Emergency protest, is removed.

On the 2nd of February 2017 around ten London students and alumni decorated the entrance hall of King's College with an array of multi coloured chalk spots and slogans, such as “divest from all fossil fuels now” "connect the dots on climate change". More students joined the protest by chanting "divest now". The objective of the protest and campaign is to demand for a decision by Kings’ College London to completely divest from fossil fuels. Our aim was not to cause any permanent damage to the walls – we used soluble temporary chalk spray that can easily be washed away. In a spirit of taking responsibility, we brought with us buckets, soap and cloths and started to clean off the chalk but we were prevented from continuing by the security staff.

However, in the great imperialist British tradition of divide and rule, the two likely ring leaders, were separated off from the rest of the decorators and given “special treatment”. This meant that they were threatened with charges of criminal damage and were taken off by the police and kept in cells over night before being released at 3am the following morning.

Later in the day, one of the two people who were arrested, Roger Hallam who is PhD student at King's, was told by a colleague in his department that he had been given an emergency suspension and that all King's staff had been banned from communicating with him.

Later when he was working on his research at King's he was forced to leave the premises. Below is his account of what happened.

"I was rang a few hours later by someone in my department to tell me that I had been suspended and that all KCL staff had been banned from communicating with me but this colleague wanted to check that I was okay. Later I was in the Tutu Room by the Students' Union working on my research. In the room there are two plackards celebrating the struggle for social justice by Bishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela. The Bishop, after whom the room is named, has spent his life promoting civil disobedience as a means of bringing about radical change. A little while later several security staff entered the space and in loud voices exclaimed “ID – everyone show their ID”. It made me think I was in some cold war movie set in East Germany. When they got to me they looked at my card – and said “Mr Hallam?”. They told me I had been banned from entering any Kings property and had to leave. I asked for five minutes just to finish the PhD research I was writing up. This I was told was not possible and I had to leave now. On the way down the stairs I asked if I could stay in the Student Union lobby on the possibly naïve assumption this space might be exempt from the diktat. They phoned HQ to check. No I have to leave the building immediately."   Roger Hallam, PhD candidate Department of Culture Media and Creative Industries.

Inspired by the proud tradition of civil disobedience promoted by the great Bishop Desmond Tutu himself, our campaign will continue and we demand that the suspension of Roger Hallam and the ban on him entering King's College is removed. We also demand that no charges are applied to him or any other activists.

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