Make Your Voice Heard

After the events of last night we have received a huge number of comments and emails of support for our actions, and an equal number expressing shock and outrage at the behaviour of the university authorities. For the many people that have asked how they can make their feelings known to university management, information is now here.

3 responses to “Make Your Voice Heard

  1. I hope someone one day kicks out the Vice Chancellor from his house into a freezing cold street, I hope he gets a taste of what he did!! He also seems to be a bit of a Nazi for what he did on Sunday night, and we should never forget that.

  2. Following your request, here’s a copy of the letter I sent to the University:

    As a member of staff, postgraduate student and volunteer tutor at the University of Nottingham, I hereby express my utmost concern about and disapproval of the treatment that the University of Nottingham Security (under direct orders from the Senior Management) meted out to the protesters of the occupation ‘in solidarity with Gaza’ of LASS B62.

    I used to be proud of being part of this institution, which I joined seven years ago. Unfortunately, I can no longer say that. I am ashamed and deeply perturbed by the way the University has handled several incidents involving students’ protests and arrests on the campus in the past year, culminating in its recent response to the aforementioned occupation. This latest event, involving Security and the police on campus, has also shocked my family in Brazil, as well as friends I have at universities across the world.

    My family was particularly horrified to hear about, read on the news, see images and video footage of the university’s recent responses and aggressive interventions against, what has clearly been from the start, a peaceful and well-articulated protest. Two members of my family were university lecturers at the time of the dictatorship in Brazil. They were persecuted, imprisoned, tortured and had to go into exile. We, in my family, along with many others in Latin America, know the importance of making our voices heard and of resistance in times of conflict and social injustice. For instance, it was the mobilisation and protest of millions of Brazilian students of my generation that led to the impeachment and fall of a discredited president in the early 1990s.

    However, our disappointment is only matched by our worry that such a renowned university is, in a short period of time, ruining its reputation – built by the hard work and brilliance of so many generations of academics, students and staff – due to the unpopular and imprudent decisions made by a handful of people in the Senior Management.

    Most of those who know me on campus would not be surprised at my support for student protests. What would indeed surprise many is the fact that if they typed my family name into a search engine, they would immediately realise my strong Jewish heritage. This fact alone is a powerful statement, as I do not think that the student occupation was about nationalist alliances, nor honouring one’s own blood/lineage. In my view, it was about demonstrating solidarity with all of those who were innocently and unlawfully affected and killed in this sad war. But most importantly, it was about demanding an ethical, unbiased and responsible attitude from the University. As a renowned international institution, the University of Nottingham needs to be accountable for the way information is officially portrayed, and for the way business is conducted.

    It is now widely recognised that young people are increasingly aware of their roles and responsibilities as global citizens and are making choices about which higher education institutions to apply for, not only based on excellence, but also on their ethical reputations and ratings for corporate social responsibility. In today’s highly competitive market, the ethos nurtured, adopted and sustained by its community is becoming as important as the number of HE awards a university holds.

    As a member of staff, postgraduate student and volunteer tutor at the University of Nottingham, I therefore urge the Senior Management to release a transparent public statement about the events that occurred in the past five days to both the student and academic bodies, in conjunction with a public apology to the protesters. If, according to the only statement made by the University in relation to the occupation, ‘the University has always facilitated and supported the rights of students to protest peacefully on issue they feel strongly about’, then the Senior Management should reconsider the feasibility of engaging in constructive dialogue with the protesters and of meeting their demands. As it is clear by the evidence provided openly in the occupation website, the protesters have not ‘impinged on academic freedom or the freedom of fellow students to further their own learning’.

    Yours sincerely,

    Laiz Rubinger Chen
    PhD Candidate, GTA and Senior Tutor

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