This is a statement produced by SU officers from around the UK in response to the statement made by the Birmingham Guild of Students Officers about the protest on Wednesday. We are awaiting further signatures, and planned on publishing this next week, however the recent statement made by Poppy Wilkinson, President of the Guild, has forced us to produce the first list early. If you would like to add your name, please comment below. Names are in no particular order.
We, the undersigned, are elected officers and representatives of students unions around the UK. We believe it is deplorable that the Birmingham University Guild of Students statement in relation to the national demonstration held on the campus this week failed to condone protest action on the University campus.
The Guild notes that it finds the protest action ‘unacceptable’, as it was disruptive to the university and its functions. We believe that protest action will always be disruptive, and the use of occupations and demonstrations has traditionally been an important and valuable tool in student activism.
We also find it deeply concerning that the Guild has still refused to publicly condemn illegal police actions on the campus, including kettling students and illegally demanding details from students who were told they would otherwise face arrest.
Moreover, the Guild has stated that it will only support ‘lawful direct action.’ A principle of law, which is a cornerstone to the British legal system, is that of ‘innocent until proven guilty.’ No students have yet had a chance to defend themselves and their arrests. Having been held in custody, three students will be charged with ‘violent disorder’, an authoritarian charge that carries a sentence of up to eight years.
All students released are subject to bail conditions that refuse them access to higher education institutions, force them to remain resident at their home address, restrict their ability to meet in groups publicly, and stop them speaking to the other students arrested. We believe this is an attack on student’s access to education, and on their freedom of speech and association.
Six students have been suspended from the University of Birmingham as a result of the protest on Wednesday. We believe this is a politically motivated action by the University management, and as evidenced in Sussex recently, is unacceptable. These students have had no chance to defend themselves, and are being used as scapegoats to create a culture of fear towards protest. The Guild must do all it can to have these students reinstated.
The Guild states that it ‘oppose cuts to higher education’, and we urge them to retract their condemnation of students taking action to fight for this goal. Moreover, we call upon the Guild to carefully consider its position in relation the on-going actions.
James McAsh, NUS NEC
Amy Gilligan NUS NEC
Rosie Huzzard, NUS NEC
Arianna Tassinari, NUS NEC
Aurora Adams, NUS SEC
Daniel Cooper, University of London Union Vice President
Søren Goard, Education Officer, Goldsmiths Students Union
Michael Chessum, University of London Union President
Ben Towse, UCL Union Postgraduate Students Officer
Hattie Craig, Vice President Education, University of Birmingham Guild of Students
Adria Ports Caballe, General rep. Essex SU
Hichem Maafi, Ethical and Environmental Officer, University of Sussex Students Union
Malia Bouattia, NUS NEC (Black Students’ Campaign)
Barnaby Raine, Trustee, Oxford University Students Union
Roshni Joshi, Vice President Campaigns and Communications, Ruskin College SU (pc)
Howard Littler, Campaigns officer, Goldsmiths Students Union
Kelly McBride, President, University of Sussex Students Union
Juliette Cule, Education Officer, University of Sussex Students Union
Rob Henthorn, President for Education, Aberdeen University Students’ Association.
Kirsty Haigh, Edinburgh University Students’ Association Vice President, Services
Alicia Coupland, Equality and Diversity Officer, University of Sussex
Jack Saffery-Rowe, LGBT+ Officer, Royal Holloway SU
Sarah Sarwar, President, Queen Mary University of London Students Union
Gaby Dale Leal, Vice President Education, Queen Mary University of London Students Union
Chris Wall, Academic Affairs Officer, Royal Holloway University of London
Katarina Nordanger, Queen Mary University of London Students Union
Ali Jawad Vice President, Barts Queen Mary University of London Students Union
Jamie Green, Vice President (Communications and Campaigns), SURHUL
Emily McDonagh, Charity and Fundraising Officer, Essex SU
Chris Whitty, Ethics Officer, Swansea University Students Union.
Georgie Robertson, SOAS Students’ Union Campaigns Officer
Matt Withers, President, Central School of Speech and Drama Students Union
Nathan Rumney, Campaigns Officer, Central School of Speech and Drama Students Union
Adam Smith, President, Coleg Gwent SU.
Sidonie Bertrand-Shelton, Students’ Union Royal Holloway University of London, Vice President Education and Welfare
Robert Ankcorn, Chair of Council, Warwick Students Union
Xavier Cohen, Environment and Ethics Officer, Oxford University Student Union
Alasdair Clark, Vice President Communcations and Events, Fife College Students’ Association (East)
Sarah Stevenson Vice President Activity’s and Development Fife College Students Association (West)
Hannah Webb UCLU External Affairs and Campaigns Officer
Katie Kokkinou UCLU Welfare & International Office
Adriano Mérola Marotta Chair of the Postgraduate Association, Sussex SU
Larni Phoenix, Accommodation Officer, SOAS SU
Aisling Gallagher, NUS-USI Women’s Officer
Wendy Smith, President, Fife College Students’ Association (East).
Samuel Rae, Education Officer, University of Sheffield Students Union
David East Co-President Democracy & Education, SOAS Students’ Union
Maham Hashmi-Khan ULU Black Student Officer.
George Venizelos, Participation and involvement officer Essex Students Union
Steve Mills, Student President (Education & Welfare), Robert Gordon University Student Association
Charley Hasted, Brixton Campus Representative, Lambeth College SU
Lani Baird, NUS Scotland LGBT Officer
Mary Prescott, Disabled Students Officer, University of Sussex
Susuana Antubam, Women’s Officer, University of London Union
Keir Gallagher, UCL Union Education and Campaigns Officer
Hamish Yewdall, Lay Student Councillor, Northumbria Students Union
Shelly Asquith, Student Union of the Arts London, President & Interim Chair, NUS London
Kelly Parry, President, Edinburgh College Students’ Association
Rosie Dammers, Education Officer, University of Manchester Students Union
Daniel Warham, UCLU Democracy and Communications Officer
Beth Sutton, Women’s’ Officer, UCLU
Becky O’Hagan, President, Heriot Watt Student Union
Kate Sharkie, Student President UWS Hamilton Campus
Blane Abercrombie, President, Students’ Association University of the West of Scotland.
Joe O’Neill, Lancaster University Students’ Union Vice President (Education)
Thomas Wragg, Vice President Democracy and Resources, Birmingham Guild of Students
Mostafa Rajaai, Culture and Diversity Officer, University of the Arts London Students Union
Kae Smith, President, Ruskin College Students’ Union.
Hannah Roberts, Education Officer University of the Arts London Students Union
Michelle Bingham, Student President, South Lanarkshire College Students’ Association
Rosie Blaco, Activities Officer University of the Arts London Students Union
Cate Inverso, Postgraduate Taught Officer, SOAS Students Union
Sian Watson, Environment & Ethics Officer, University of Essex SU
Jordan Cohen, LGBT Officer, Essex University SU
James Elliott, Disabilities Officer, Oxford University SU.
Clifford Flemming, Campaigns Officer Manchester University SU