The third Guild Council of the year is quickly approaching and we are concerned that there are currently University of Birmingham students being held at police stations, after what lawyers have advised us is unlawful arrest. These students require support.
We call upon the sabbatical officers, who are responsible for the representation of the student body, to show support to the 14 students who have were arrested yesterday evening on University campus.
These students were arrested after refusing to give their names and details to the police when leaving a kettle at the Aston Webb, something they are not legally required to do. This has clearly negatively affected their welfare, and thus we are disappointed that the sabbatical officers have not attended either Bournville or Steelhouse Lane police stations to defend victim of a potentially illegal police action . Yesterday students were held in a kettle, without having committed crimes, for up to four hours in the rain, without access to water, food or shelter. Two students collapsed and one has been kept in hospital overnight. So far these abhorrent actions of the police have not been condemned by the Guild.
Instead the Guild has chosen to waste time dealing with condemning defend education for the university cancelling an event on a separate day to the protest. Instead of defending the right the protest they seem to attacking it.
All sabbatical officers and students activists should rally together – we do not understand how the Guild’s recent actions are legitimate, the statement was not sent around the guild officer group or the sabbatical officer group for approval and it flies in the face of many policies of guild council. We feel this undermines the legitimacy of student democracy and makes the guild seem a puppet of the university.
As such many Guild Councillors and Guild Officers will not be attending as they are instead working on arrestee support and other vital campaign work fighting for student rights at this critical time. Some of have been working non stop without sleep attempting to ensure the well being of students on the protest and that the right to protest is not jeopardised.
As events are ongoing, we hope that Guild Council will not follow a bad example of jumping to ill judged and undemocratic actions on yesterday’s actions, as those involved are not able to defend themselves and investigations haven’t been concluded.
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