10 UoB Students Disciplinary

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Automaton
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Joined: 19-10-10
Jan 26 2011 23:36
10 UoB Students Disciplinary

Birmingham Students

Our University have initiated disciplinary proceedings after our the occupation last Monday during which 3 students were assaulted. Those who the uni have decided to discipline are seemingly chosen for political reasons and one of those was not even present or involved.

no1
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Joined: 3-12-07
Jan 27 2011 01:08

They did the same thing at Sussex last year after the short-lived occupation of the main management building, picking 6 students who they thought were the 'leaders', and preventing them even from coming to campus. The response was that we occupied again, this time for a week, with many hundreds of students and staff taking part - the whole thing just snowballed. At the end of that week long occupation, management re-instated the 6 (though they lost their disciplinary - had to pay a few hundred quid, though the campaign and the unions raised enough money to cover all of it). Not saying that you should do the same in Birmingham, it depends on conditions, but it's important that you think about ways to fight back.

Automaton
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Jan 27 2011 10:26

Did you start the other occupation before the actual disciplinary took place? I think we have been in contact with some of the Sussex students involved about this. Also what were the supposed offences, and did they use a blanket accusation or individual ones?

Thanks.

tabletop_joe
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Jan 27 2011 12:23

Hey ho... i was one of the students suspended at sussex (and an accidental libcom lurker, it seems...)

They accused the six of us of the same things (a variety of rule breaches, i can't remember them all now, but the main one was a vague accusation of 'riotous behaviour' along with staff intimidation, creating a fire hazard through barricading doors etc. The two of us who were arrested also had that held against us), but ostensibly treated the cases seperately, in as much as we each had individual disciplinary hearings, with different people representing each of us. They were all heard on the same day though, and in the end, we all had the same fine (300 quid each, with one student's fine halved because she proved that she wasn't actually in the occupation of the management building for more than 10 minutes).

The disciplinary hearings weren't until long after the solidarity occupation had finished though, and didn't receive that much attention on campus. The point around which most of the solidarity organising focused was the fact that we were suspended and excluded from campus, so the occupation's main demand was immediate and unconditional re-instatement.

I think it was this immediate demand with very visible results that partly made it possible to mobilise so many students and staff, as well as general outrage about the cuts and the actions of management (fabricating a hostage situation in order to being riot cops to break up the occupation). If we'd still been on campus, just waiting for a disciplinary, there might not have been the same sense of urgency or visibility of results.

After we were suspended, there was an emergency demo called the same evening, and then a much larger one a week later, that started the occupation. The occupation itself lasted a week, and was used as a means of organising a bunch of other stuff in suport of us (regular demos to keep the SWP happy, a packed out EGM of the student union that voted no confidence in management etc), as well as providing a really important space for the stop the cuts campaign more generally.

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Joseph Kay
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Jan 27 2011 12:25

Edit: too slow, the above looks more comprehensive!

At Sussex, the six were suspended/banned from campus as well as an injunction banning "occupational protest" secured. Together with the police violence (which was aimed at supporters outside rather than occupiers) this led to a huge demo the following week which occupied a central lecture theatre demanding the six be reinstated. We won this on the last day of term, but the six still had to face disciplinaries which were held during the Easter break when nobody was around. As no1 says, union donations and fundraisers covered their fines.

I think the charges related to breaches of university rules, but the VC used a clause in the rules granting him arbitrary powers to suspend students without any due process (except scheduling a hearing). The six were obviously targeted for their prominence in the campaign rather than anything they as individuals did on the day.

Automaton
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Joined: 19-10-10
Jan 29 2011 15:29

The numbers have actually increased to twelve since I wrote that message but they have not faced the disciplinary yet, and hopefully they will be able to avoid the worst of it.
The disciplinary is on Wednesday, and I will try to keep everyone updated. Our twitter is stopcutsbrum and we have set up a petition for those accused http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/defendbirminghamstudents/signatures

Thanks.

Sir Vile Minds
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Joined: 11-03-11
Mar 11 2011 10:58

I know of a couple of people who were pulled in for a disciplinary hearing from my uni after the little act of organising a few meetings connected to the cuts.

Funny thing is, the guy was trying to improve our crappy student union.

Automaton
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May 29 2011 15:18

Talk about political targeting! I hope it didn't put him off. It's all pretty much cleared up here. They took another shot at one of us recently but that also came to nothing. They are trying really hard, but it just makes them look foolish.