Today we staged a sit-in at the University of Birmingham for the following reasons:
In defiance of the unprecedented injunction banning stationary protests this sit-in took place, stopping access to the main conference centre rooms and disrupting meetings that continue to perpetuate the university as a corporate business rather than an educational institution. We fundamentally disagree with the university’s continual business agenda, which keeps Eastwood on a disproportionately high pay while members of staff face real-term pay cuts and students fees have tripled.
We condemn the actions taken by the university against the freedom to protest on campus. This we believe to be a right, that students and indeed all people should be able to freely express their discontent. The university should be a bastion for free-speech. As it stands, the university does not recognise this human right and actively seeks to curtail it. The University of Birmingham now finds itself condemned by Amnesty International for its repressive conduct.
We condemn the disciplinary action taken against Simon Furse. Simon’s disciplinary is an example of the extreme victimisation that this university will deploy in order to crush its student body. Simon was singled out against a backdrop of nationwide occupations of which no other student has been disciplined for; only Simon is being disciplined despite the fifty or so other students also involved. The university is trying to make an example of Simon by attempting to punish him they are trying to intimidate other students. This behaviour is a Draconian response to an otherwise peaceful protest. This is an affront to democracy and puts the University of Birmingham to shame, so much so that David Eastwood has been condemned by the national press from the Guardian to the Daily Mail.
We will continue to take action until the university stops repressing the student voice.