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@unibirmingham - Reinstate the students at Birmingham University whose only ‘crime’ has been to defend education.

This petition had 6,265 supporters

Five University of Birminhgam students have been suspended from their studies following a national demonstration on campus on January 29th 2014. An email from Dr Chris Twine, Director of Student Services, was sent around the College of Social Sciences stating that the students, “have been suspended from study and barred from University premises with immediate effect.” The email goes on to state that the students are “not to be allowed access to any teaching or learning activities.”

These suspensions follow a national meeting and demonstration at the University of Birmingham which culminated in the occupation of the Aston Webb’s Great Hall. When the students attempted to peacefully leave the Hall, they found themselves kettled by police officers and University security. The students were held there for over four hours, before being released one by one to be questioned by the police at 6pm on Wednesday the 29th. Along with twelve other protesters they were held for over 24 hours in Birmingham police stations.

These suspensions are at odds with freedom of speech and the right to protest, setting a threatening precedent for how dissent is dealt with on campuses across the country. These actions follow recent suspensions at Sussex University which have directly targeted those who use their democratic right to speak up and demonstrate for the betterment of education. We believe that the suspensions seen at the University of Birmingham are further evidence of the contempt for freedom of expression, both political and academic, in the contemporary university. It is becoming more apparent that those who manage our education have very little interest in serving those students and lecturers without whom education would not be possible. We condemn these suspensions in the strongest terms and call for the immediate readmission of the students affected. 

 We call upon the Birmingham University Management to reinstate these students with immediate effect.

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