Nottingham University Authorities: A National Disgrace

snow-protest

After the forceful eviction of the peaceful protesters. The situation is getting more and more sinister.

1) The Security officials are refusing to take statements from the students have been assaulted/injured during their removal.

2)The Media have been barred from campus in a clear attempt to stop the story getting out.

3) Students have been kept outside in the snow and prevented from retrieving their property (including their Jackets). Security have said they will eventually have them upon identification via student cards but since many haven’t got their cards on them they’ve been forced to stand in the cold in tshirts.

4) The police have refused to take statements from those students who have been injured/assaulted on removal. This is a clear breach of their duty of care. Local MPs have been informed of the fact.

5) Police have refused to facilitate the process of students identifying those security officers who have assaulted them.

6) Names and id’s taken of those present, in a clear attempt at intimidation.

Once again, the University of Nottingham distinguishes itself by acting in the most repressive and disgraceful manner against what was a very peaceful, very civil expression of dissent. This is yet another example of the University Authorities trying to enforce a homogeneous culture of apathy and consent across the student body. Students who engage with the realities of this world are seen as a threat to the University’s PR image of enforced servility parading as stability.

The protest has not disrupted any lectures. The room was available for lectures at all times and many lecturers and students verified the fact themselves. The University is to blame for any disruption as they are the ones who cancelled the lectures without consulting the students or the lecturers. As seen in previous episodes such as the AUT graylisting and the Freedom of Speech protests, it is obvious the views and opinions of staff and students mean nothing to the authorities of this institution.

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47 responses to “Nottingham University Authorities: A National Disgrace

  1. Students have the formal right to make complaints if distress has been caused to them, in accordance with the University of Nottingham Quality Manual.

    http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/quality-manual/appeals/complaints.htm

    The University is obliged to investigate every official complaint.

  2. For independent student complaints there is also the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education

    http://www.oiahe.org.uk/summary.asp

  3. Concerned lecturer

    I am saddened about what happened. I hope the students affected by these events directly or indirectly will not project their experience tonight on their attitude towards higher education or on the lecturers teaching them. It is not a question of agreeing or disagreeing with the students’ demands. However, a university that aims to educate (politically) aware citizens that are able to think for themselves and are not afraid of addressing difficult subjects cannot defend its decision to end a student protest forcefully. How do these actions relate to student satisfaction, which apparently is so important to the university? What about the welfare of of our students? How sad a place would the university be if there were no student protests or demonstrations aimed at raising awareness of issues that matter in the world today? Is it not a central task of the university to encourage open and lively debate and to engage with difficult questions, rather than to promote silence and lethargy? What was at risk here? A bunch of students were peacefully sitting in a lecture theatre for a couple of days, not making any noise or mess, not disrupting any lectures, watching political films, inviting speakers and raising awareness. Where was the problem? Where was the security risk? Who was threatened or distressed by this to the extent that these students had to be removed forcefully from the premises? And why do I feel the need to post this comment anonymously in order to avoid compromising my job and prospects for promotion?

  4. Nottingham University; a fucking disgrace that parades as a breeding ground for the socially responsible, ‘leaders of the future’. Keep this going please, the more people become aware of hypocrisy that now defines British corporate universities – places that are effectively chicken farms for servile ‘high flyers’ – the faster action can be taken.

    Keep going, maybe one day the authorities will at least have the decency to make a statement.

  5. Pingback: Nottingham University Occupation Ended By Suppressive Authorities « Ten Percent

  6. To build on the last comment, why am I not suprised? The university MANAGEMENT consistently shows a complete disregard to both the requests and rights of its students and staff, and for what? To halt “impinge[ments] on academic freedom”? Is this not the same university that handed over a memeber of staff and MA student to the police for possessing an ‘open source’ document? Is this not the same university that prevented an academic roundtable at the end of last year which was to discuss ‘Academic Freedom’? As a university, Nottingham is failing its students. As a business, it is failing its customers. It is no suprise that the university is falling down the league tables year after year on account of poor student satisfaction. It is vitally important that we assert our rights, both as students and paying customers, and I suggest further protests to be held in this vein.

    Of course, this must come second to the current struggle and its immediate goals! Well done guys for everything that you’re doing.

    Don’t let the idiots win.

  7. I’m really saddened by the way this protest turned out, but far from surprised. The management continue to act with nothing but disdain for everything that’s meant to be good about British higher education. I loathe their neo-colonial Trent Building clones in Asia. I loathe how campus security are equipped with uniforms and cars designed to make them look like the police. As an undergraduate I actually used to help out on open days; now it’s got to the point where I can no longer recommend this institution to anybody.

    Or perhaps I can. Nottingham best suits white middle-class people who don’t care about politics. People who think that university is all about drinking recklessly in mainstream nightclubs, working moderately hard when required and eventually earning an upper second-class degree that allows you to work for a multi-national corporation. For anyone else, it’s a piss-poor choice.

    I feel for all of you who were manhandled today. Best of luck with the rest of your campaign.

  8. All efforts should be made to make this as public as possible. The police and other authorities shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this blatant abuse of power.

  9. Dismayed Student

    I’m saddened and disgusted beyond belief. The situation in Sheffield is even worse I hear. I wholeheartedly support and admire the protesters and wish them courage and perseverence.

  10. Keep fighting for the truth and know that you have support from all over the country. This is for a great cause and nothing the uni can say will take that away.

  11. The first commenter is spot on. A university is supposed to provide an environment in which young (and not so young) people can develop their intellectual faculties and their aptitude for critical reasoning, and for that to happen it’s vital that they are able to question authority in a reasonable and peaceful way — which is exactly what these protesters were doing. I went to the sit in on Friday and found the atmosphere to be a relaxed and open one. The organisers were expressly willing to vacate the hall to make way for scheduled lectures and were clearly happy to hold full discussions with the authorities regarding other issues.

    But what just happened was truly disgusting. Hopefully those in charge of this forced removal have just shot themselves in the foot, and will have to face serious consequences for their decision. The sad fact though is that Nottingham like most other uni’s nowadays prides itself on being largely focused on how its research ties in with the demands of business and on turning out students who are attractive to corporate employers, than with any commitment to intellectual enquiry or critical thinking; which is why they have acted so brutally and so rashly to this challenge to their authority.

  12. Concerned PhD student

    I am sorry to hear that people were injured by security. Although the protest has not yet achieved its stated objectives, this brutal reaction has exposed the establishment’s contempt for independent thought and expression. All involved deserve congratulations for shattering the myth of student apathy and expressing solidarity with the people of Gaza. Hopefully this is just the beginning.

  13. “Anarchism is a game at which the Police can beat you.”

    George Bernard Shaw

    I am shocked and surprised at this disgusting treatment of honourable and peaceful protesters.
    I am so sorry that you will receive an education via these events – a lesson in the true state of this so-called democracy/police state.
    it is almost certain that this eviction was unlawful, but maybe next time you could claim squatters rights to a building. very easy and then police/security are denied access without a court order.
    well done to all the protesters, you are the real heroes here.
    perhaps this might encourage one or two people to take up the study of law, as a very powerful weapon in the fight for a better world for everyone.
    shame on the police – but they don’t know much about the law. they only train for 18 weeks before they are unleashed on an unsuspecting public who are duped into thinking that they know what they are doing.
    best wishes,
    d

  14. Its disgusting!

  15. Brutal?

    You don’t know the meaning of the word.

    Occupation Response: You are right, we are fortunate that we do not fully understand the word brutal. But it is almost certain that the citizens of the Gaza strip have much more of an understanding.

    Count yourselves lucky and grow up.

  16. It’s beyond me how a university can be so right wing. Surely it’sa place of education, liberalism, tolerance and autonomy of mind. Instead any signs of independence are smashed apart, quite literally as we saw last night. Shame on you notts.

    This week has been a real eye-opener. Don’t give up the fight

  17. Keep up the struggle
    The Whole World is Watching
    Take your fight back to the student body and outside to the NHS and Unions we are watching with great interest
    Remember how the anti Vietnam Student occupations were treated in the USA and then went on to found a movement that stopped the war
    Occupy, Organise and Educate

  18. Funny that this story is nowhere to be seen on the BBC news website where the top story on the Nottinghamshire section is:

    ” New Robin Hood task force set up
    Plans to help Nottingham promote the legend of Robin Hood are unveiled by the city council. “

  19. Has the university released a statement to justify their actions? This was an over reaction and completely unnecessary. If they think they have contained the situation/ protestors on campus they are fooling themselves. This will only strengthen the movement and increase resentment towards the University authorities. Bad move!!

  20. I suggest everyone e-mails the Vice-Chancellor, David Greenaway, to demonstrate our disgust. His e-mail can be found here:

    http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/cgi-bin/directory_lookup.cgi?surname=greenaway&initials=&number=&department=All+departments&submit=Search

    I feel sick to the pit of my stomach by the way the uni has dealt with this.

    All power to those who protested! Make sure they don’t get away with this, and demand a public statement from the VC.

  21. This is a shame.

    I’m saddened by what has happened at Sheffield, too.

  22. warwicksolidaritysitin

    We are keeping our eyes and ears open – if you need anything, don’t forget to ask. We now officially have our Union’s backing, and will suggest in our meeting later today that our Welfare Officer e-mails Stephen Dudderidge expressing her shock at such violent tactics to non-violent students.

  23. so what’s next? re-occupation? rally on campus? if the university thought they quashed the protest they are roundly mistaken!…

  24. Please can everyone who has commented so articulately on this article send email with your concerns about the shocking treatment of the peaceful protesters to Vice Chancellor: david.greenaway@nottingham.ac.uk Director of Student Operations: stephen.dudderidge@nottingham.ac.uk
    Pro Vice Chancellor of the student experience: david.reilly@nottingham.ac.uk

  25. Would be helpful if somebody can put all the nottingham uni official statements together.

    Also, I would like to know what is the legitimate way for the university to remove the students, so i can decide if the university management had gone over the line and by how much.

  26. If there had been grounds for arrest, the police might have arrested the students. The fact that security officers were used instead suggests that there were in fact no such grounds. The legality of the university’s actions here seems very dubious. One can’t just go around assaulting people and confiscating their property just because one has an official-looking uniform.

  27. Hey!!! send me an mail, i can’t find one for send our support manifest. We offer you all the help do you need.

    We’re with you!!!

  28. I would like to congratulate the protesters for generating a lot of interest in a key issue in global politics. You have sparked debate and independent thought throughout the university community and that is surely what a higher education institution should aim to encourage – not stifle. The dignified manner in which the protest was carried out was in stark contrast to the ignorant and uncooperative stance taken by the university. Shame on you University of Nottingham.

  29. Well done the Vice Chancellor!

    Now publish this – in the interests of Free Speech

    Occupation Response: Thank you fghryt765, you defended the right to to free speech by posting an aggressive comment on a website. Congratulations!

  30. Congratulations to the protesters. I am a recent Notts Uni alumnus, and I love the university. In this instance however, its management has acted shamefully.

  31. How tragic, that Nottingham U., instead of keeping to the moral high ground, has chosen to back Israel’s genocide of Palestinians.

  32. Meurig Gallagher

    The first poster is spot on and while I don’t agree fully with the anonymous nature of the post, I can fully appreciate why you deemed it necessary.
    The university has acted atrociously in this instance and I sincerely hope that everyone who has posted here has also sent a letter of complaint to those mentioned on the front-page, and anyone else relevant, and manages to broadcast this issue as far and as wide as possible.
    Regardless of how one feels about the issue which the protest was meant to be addressing, the acts of the university were, at best, extreme and at worst an infringement of basic human rights.
    I urge everyone to send in either an e-mail or a letter (ideally both) of complaint to the university and the MP for Nottingham, preferably from their Nottingham university e-mail, so as to show that this is an issue that people feel so strongly about that they are not worried about repercussions, fair or otherwise.

  33. Eddie Daughton

    I find it most interesting that the University of Nottingham have acted in a similar way towards their students that the Israeli govt. acted towards Gaza, ie keeping the media out of the way while they act in a brutal way to repress dissent.
    I am not saying that i agree with Hamas, but i find the israeli response obscene in the extreme, By extension i also find Nottingham’s reaction to student dissent very worrying, especcially as it comes within an environment where repression of academic freedom seems to be rife.
    I just wish that i could be with the students that are occupying and suggest that you have a look at the 14th cent. law of “Riotous Assembly” an act passed by King John (i think) to stop returning barons turning up “mob handed” to take back their castles, back in the day we took the Met. to court on this act and won after a similar eviction.
    Good Luck Folks, stay with your protest, and don’t let the bastards grind you down…. Just ‘cos their have their heads in the trough, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be reminded of ethics….
    Hugs
    Eddie

  34. The protesters were NOT speaking for the majority of the student body.

    Occupation Response: No we were at least attempting to speak for the people of Gaza.

    The university have a duty of care, and will not give in to demands by students whose education they facilitate. I do not imagine that any of the protesters would have had the same opinions or thoughts if they did not attend the university, which incidentally has always looked out for the majority of the student body even in the case of Hicham Yezza.

    The Police did what they did for reasons you are not informing anybody of here most likely because you did not understand them.

    This is what happens if you try and bully the university through peaceful protest.

    I would like to add that our campus security are there to protect us as well as the university property. I imagine that if they came to your aid when you needed help most you wouldn’t be criticizing them then.

    Occupation Response: Security didn’t come to our aid in this situation, but placed us in stress positions and dragged us into the snow.

    I completely understand that the protesters are trying to deal with a massively important issue, and for that I admire them all. However, the manner in which they did it and the attention-seeking after the end of the sit-in simply puts the name of the university AND ITS STUDENTS in a bad light.

    Occupation Response: It is a ‘massively important issue’ and hence we believed the protest was warranted. It was attention seeking, but not to bring attention to us, but to the plight of 1.5 million human beings.

  35. I’d call this a laughable over-reaction by the university, my employer, except that some people got injured by private security guards. Not funny… But ironic though, in the context of Israel’s massive over-reaction to any Palestinian military activity that took place.

    How are thinking, caring, critical-thinking people SUPPOSED to react to what happened to Gaza? A dramatic statement was needed and justified, because you have to be dramatic for anyone to hear what you have to say if you want to express dissent. Or rather, occupying a lecture theatre – quite a small thing really – seems dramatic in the culture of political apathy that the university fosters.

    The university is mistaken if it thinks it can intimidate people into expressing no opinion, or backing down quietly when force is used against a peaceful, responsible demonstration. Doesn’t it understand that students demonstrate on a campus partly because they identify with the university community and want to express their grief and anger in the context of that community? This was in part the nature of the students’ demands – caring about what a university as a thinking community actually thinks and trying to influence it. The whole world should be discussing what happened to Gaza and taking a stand, and not be silent. The silence is indefensible.

    Why does the university want to distance itself from engaging with the issue? What does that tell us about what values the managers identify with? Who will the students come to identify with if they are treated in this way in the very place where they, and employees, should be encouraged to express ourselves?

    Keep it up, University of Nottingham, if you want to turn the academic community against you.

  36. I’m in the process of applying for a PhD, and will seriously reconsider my decision to study at Nottingham following this.

  37. Grow up, you say they over reacted, what about you lot, starting crying over losing your jackets and getting ‘hurt’.

    You say you are protesting, yet most of you just want to sit there and expect no repercussions, I think the majority think it’s just a bit of a game, so you can get a bit of attention, like to think you are causing a bit of trouble, without actually caring about the situation in hand.

    Occupation Response:’think it’s just a bit of a game’ ‘ without actually caring about the situation in hand’ – this could not be further from the truth. I think that for those who joined us in the occupation who are from Gaza, or refugees from Gaza, it is disgusting for you to say they view as ‘a game’ – the conflict concerns the very lives of their families – as for the rest of the protesters, all are serious and passionate about this protest being about its humanitarian aims, not to “get a bit of attention”.

    Do you think the police have a easy job rounding up all you people, making sure everyone is safe, making sure there is no damage being cause, but no, all you want them to do is to answer your individual problems like which guard did this and where you ‘whatever’ is, its no wonder they didn’t appear to be amused by the situation. So now while they have to be there with you, there could be people dieing somewhere else, who are not helped becuase all the police in the area are tied up over some stupid protest.

    Occupation Nottingham: I hadn’t realised that it was the police’s place to turn a deaf ear to those who were frightened or wishing to make a complaint. As for people ‘dieing’ (sic) elsewhere, I am sure the police are quite capable of managing their resources properly, don’t be absurd.

    Hopefully the university will make an example out of this and start dishing out some punishments.

  38. (Occupation responses in bold)
    am slightly appalled, but not by the actions of the university, but by the actions of these social rebels who believe that their pitiful actions will force any change. I am wholly against the Israeli occupation of Gaza and furthermore, am disgusted by the human rights violations, in particular the use of weapons such as white phosphorous which are banned under the Geneva Convention.

    We were trying to actually do something about all of this. If we had been successful in reaching an agreement with the university (ie if they’d been willing to engage in dialogue), there is a good chance we could have achieved some tangible results to help the people of Gaza.

    Despite this, as a student at Nottingham University these protestors seem to be attention seeking, uneducated and of an overall unpleasant demeanor.
    Appologies if we seem unpleasant to you. We’re at this university, so probably everyone has a reasonable level of education, not that it really matters. There’s really no need to attack us personally. We were attempting to stand up for the basic rights of others, against the status quo and entrenched vested interests, in order to better the world around us. That’s difficult enough without personal affronts and slander being added to the mix, thanks.

    The list of demands is both impractical and ridiculous. Some of the employers it seeks to ban from campus are linchpins of the local economy which has been suffering greatly.
    You seem to be suggesting that ‘hard times’ make it ok to profit from war crimes, repression and gross violations of international law?

    Forcing Caterpillar off campus will not solve the problems. I feel you need to grasp the bigger picture and due to this I see your protesting methods and ideals as very small minded.
    The bigger picture, in our view, is that we are a very privileged and affluent sector of human society, and have a duty to stand up for the rights of others to live with basic dignity and needs fullfilled. This protest was about confronting injustice at its most fundamental economic, political and ideological levels. If you have a ‘bigger picture’ for us to consider, we’re more than happy to hear you out.

    I hope that this piece is read and not discarded and that free speech, from all sectors, can be upheld.

  39. I feel the need to comment again, and hope that both my own and MB’s comments are indeed posted so that the right of free speech may be observed.

    Occupation Response: Thank you for your new comment Will, we are glad to publish it and believe it deserves a response, given in bold.

    I totally agree with MB. Why were you protesting against an issue which has already been widely condemned by the international community? It is way above your heads as it is in terms of policy change.

    In part it is because of the wide condemnation that we are protesting this issue and feel justified in doing so. In terms of policy change, our aims, other than raising general awareness, were humanitarian both in a postive sense (see further comments under this) and negative, removing the uncomfortable links the University has with the arms industry (for example, BAE Systems) that compromise it as an ethical organisation and place of learning. These aims are modest, and don’t involve the international community for their implementation.

    Surely your resources and attention would be better spent on sending money and aid to humanitarian organisations out in Gaza than complaining about being removed from a lecture theatre?

    We raised hundreds of pounds for humanitarian organisations during the course of the occupation and will continue to do so in the coming weeks, month and years.

    And in terms of personal attacks as you mentioned in your comments to MB, I heard plenty of abuse being thrown at security and Police who were doing their jobs, no matter how much you condemn it as fascist! Relating Britain today to 1930s Nazi Germany is somewhat ignorant!

    The justifiable anger you observe was the result of the police refusing to take statements from the protesters at the scene, or facilitating any way to make their complaints against security heard. While these statements were hyperbolic, it was understandable considering the distress caused by the eviction. Had the same happened to you, I believe you may have acted in a similar way.

    The comments made at the scene by the protesters seem small-minded and selfish. If you really care about Gaza, send money and aid. I donate money to the organisations out there, and feel others like myself have probably acheived more than you will in this campaign.

    Please see the previous note in bold. In addition, our aims did include sending money and aid – showing the DEC appeal on The University website, providing books, equipment and scholarships to those whose educational opportunities were and are curtailed by the recent fighting. Our other aims involved attempting to cease the University’s material aid for the bombardment as a result of it’s links with BAE Systems and other arms manufacturers.

    Once again I admire your enthusiasm, but in my opinion your focus is flawed.

    Out focus seems consistant with your desire. We hope you will join our campaign in future.

  40. andrewallisonuk

    If you take over a university building, you are breaking the law. If you then get injured because you refuse to leave, surely this goes with the territory. Stop whining. Remember the protesters are at fault here; not the university.

    Occupation Response: None of the University statements made any mention of breaking the law. As for the University being at fault, it depends on your perspective – could this occupation have concluded without protesters being dragging out – of course. Should the University as a learning institution being fostering an environment that encourages negotiation and discussion over the use of brute force – of course. The University in this case appear to be claiming they had no choice, yet numerous choices were avaliable and almost every University in the country decided to act differently – Oxford entered into negotiations and the occupation was concluded in six hours. As for the nature of the injuries, one can finds it difficult that the University can tout it’s “duty of care” to students, while resorting so quickly to causing them injury.

    At a more precise level, this protest was in part to highlight how we believe the University was ‘at fault’ in a much more serious manner – in supporting the research in to weapons generally and particularly by recieving investment from companies directly involved in providing weapons for the recent bombardment.

  41. I see your point of view, and I respect your efforts for raising money for your cause, but I won’t be joining your campaign. Good luck to you all though, and do remember that you, the university security and the Police are all doing your own bit for your own causes. We all have our own principles and convictions, and those with a uniform will fight for theirs just as much as you will.

    Good luck in the pursuit of your goals Occupation Nottingham.

  42. bullshit detector

    Will wrote
    “I heard plenty of abuse being thrown at security and Police who were doing their jobs, no matter how much you condemn it as fascist! Relating Britain today to 1930s Nazi Germany is somewhat ignorant!”

    How did you hear that abuse? Were you present? In what capacity, seeing as you don’t seem to have been a protester? Are you a security guard or a cop, Will?

    And since when has the fact that someone is doing their job been a moral defence? In spite of the ill-fitting references to Nazi Germany, they too used the risible excuse that they were “just doing their jobs”.

  43. I am ashamed of myself for not having contributed. I totally support what u did, Israel has been oppressing teh Palestinian people for many decades now and it is time that the British government realises that its biased and undemocratic attitude towards Palestinian rights is not supported!!! I hope u are feeling better and really it makes me smile to see that non-muslims, non-arabs actually care about Muslims and Arabs!!!! Thank you very much again u r just showing that the UK is not represententing its population when it supports Israel in its murderous acts!

  44. Matthew Curry

    I was shocked and disgusted when I read about the tactics used by Nottingham University to deal with your protest. Many of our most highly praised educational institutions are no longer beacons of innovation, facilitating the independent development of the future of our country, but factories of conformity, and as demonstrated by your plight, repression.

    A University as an institution not taking a stance on a world issue is one thing, as it is obviously an amalgamation of a plethora of opinions, viewpoints and arguments that cannot be reconciled. A University seeking to smother the voice of its student body is another issue entirely. The treatment to which you were subjected to should not be tolerated, and serious questions should be asked of Nottingham’s practices.

    We are the future, and we will not inherit a world in which we have no stake, and no voice. If you feel strongly, sit-in, speak-out, or stand-up, but do not allow them to smother your voice.

    Matthew
    Warwick University

  45. Pingback: Bloody Students « Anas’s Blog

  46. Louise & Mike, proud parents

    Our son is one of the protesters: we are proud of him for taking a stand on such an important issue. We applaud the comments of the first poster, the lecturer: if you want young people to think for themselves, and think of others, then don’t try to stifle and intimidate them when they do!

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