University of Birmingham students declare "I am Spartacus"
Today Birmingham students showed defiance against a repressive university. In response to a student being singled out and disciplined for taking part in an occupation of an unused university building last year, all occupiers have come forward and admitted to taking the same actions as that student. They take this action at a university which is getting a reputation for repression in higher education sector. To the extent that UWE deputy vice chancellor John Rushworth when asked by the Guardian about student protests commented “I don’t say this in a negative way, but we’re not Birmingham – our focus is on our students, whereas theirs is on their research”.
Simon faces this disciplinary because the conservative president of his student union has singled him out amongst many occupiers who came in and out of the occupation. Thankfully Simon is well supported and the president already has been forced to withdraw his statement.
I have nothing but very great respect for the students who are willing to run the same risk of expulsion as Simon and have in solidarity essentially hung a sign saying “come and get me them you b***std’s” around their necks.
They have today sent this letter to the university with their names and courses attached.
Dear David Eastwood,
We hope this finds you well. We are writing because you have decided to take Simon Furse to a full college misconduct committee at which he potentially faces expulsion. You and your university team are doing this for no other reason than that Simon was in the north gatehouse for a part of the time it was occupied from November 23rd to 25th, not even the full duration as he entered on the second day.
Simon is a prominent activist on campus. We believe he has been singled out for disciplinary above others who are known to have taken exactly the same actions. We believe this is because of his vocal political opposition to your proposed course cuts, forced redundancies, support of tuition fees and the education white paper which proposes the damaging privatisation of the UK higher education system.
We would like to establish for the record that we also attended the occupation; we took the same actions as did Simon Furse. If you want to discipline him you must discipline us as well.
We would appreciate if you could take note that we will carry on with our campaign despite any injunctions “banning” protests or disciplinary handed out. We will do this because we stand in total opposition to the hypocritical pay rises and bonuses for you and your executive while the rest of the university faces cuts, job losses and the insecurity of a privatised education sector.
We look forward to hearing from you soon,
- Edward Bauer (VP Education)
- Claire Lister (DAMSA Chair)
- Leander Jones (Community Action Officer)
- Kelly Rogers Guild of Students Women’s Officer, President Student Broad Left
- Carmen Castrillon (President Friends of Palestine, Languages Guild Councilor)
- Sean Farmelo (Philosophy, Theology and Religion Guild Councillor)
- Sebastian Egerton Read (Secretary Student Broad Left)
- Mma Felicia Yeebo-Agoe (Guild Councillor for Ethnic Minorities)
- Elio di Muccio 3rd Year Sociology Volunteering Guild Councillor
- Alice Swift President People & Planet, Campaigning & Political Mini-Forum Guild Councillor
- Daniel Harrison Chair, Birmingham Labour Students, Campaigning & Political Mini-Forum Guild Councillor
- Bryn Gough Politcal Science Guild Councilor
- Hattie Craig (Pritchatts Park RA Representation Officer, 1st Year International relations and political science)
- Matthew Franklin 2nd Year Anthropology and Classical Literature and Civilisation, Secretary, People & Planet
- Emma Atkins Computer Science – Software Engineering
- April Reilly (1st Year Philosophy and Political Science)
- Pauline notley Medical Biochemistry 1st year
- Asad Zadi (3rd Year Political Science)
- Dale Steanson – 1st year political science
- Jake Pembroke – 1st year political science
- Nick Mcoy 2nd year International relations
- Charlotte Cruze 2nd Year Environmental Science
- Dan Doherty 3rd Year International Relations
- Nick Collis 3rd year political science
- Jenna Woolven 1st year Bsc Psychology
- Laura Hamilton 2nd Year Geology Student Rep
- Lindsey Birtles 1st year CCE
- Lawrence Murphy 2nd Year Geology and Geography
- Jack Copley 3rd Year Political Science
- Micaela Rocha Archaeology and Anthropology BA
- Richard Higgs 3rd Year Political Science
- Lottie Rowling 1st Year International Relations with Political Science
- Pauline Notley 1st Year Biochemistry
- Jacob Weir 1st Year Philosophy
- Kez Sleeman 1st Year Mechanical Engineering
- Jaskaran Sarkaria 3rd year political science
- Alex Thompson 1st Year BA Hispanic Studies
- Azfar Shafi 1st Year Psychology
- Nathan Woodward 2nd year computer science
- Michaela Christofi 3rd year political science
- Martha Smith – 2nd Year political science
- Jon Robinson 3rd year Political Science
- Lucy Whalley Graduate
- Nicolas O’Brien Graduate
- Tom Holness graduate
- Matthew Alton graduate
- Katherine Ellis
- Tom Farrell 2nd year physics
- Mita Desai -2nd year Social Policy
- Nadia Williams 1st year English Literature and Drama