Open Letter from staff at University of London colleges against the criminalisation of student protest

By mute, 7 December 2013
Image: Police brutality at the eviction of the University of London protest last week


Wednesday night’s eviction of a student occupation of the University of London’s Senate House building crossed another threshold in the criminalization of protest on our campuses. Rather than responding to a set of eminently reasonable and practicable demands [], which try to defend the right to education and to just working conditions in our university, senior management at the University of London have yet again decided that when faced with the option between dialogue and repression, they will turn to the latter. Chris Cobb, Chief Operating Officer and University Secretary of UoL, declared that: “This was a disgraceful and aggressive act, which placed the safety of our staff at risk. The University will always support peaceful and legitimate protest’. The mendacity of this statement is breathtaking. ‘Disgraceful and aggressive’ describes very well the behaviour of management willing to ban all protest in Senate House []*, regardless of how peaceful, collude in the arrest of students, and call violent police and security guards to evict protesters before entering into any serious dialogue whatsoever.


Students and staff are being bombarded with marketing talk about ‘the student experience’ but as soon as they act as anything other than compliant consumers, their spaces are taken away and their right to political expression and assembly quashed. It seems that the people who run our universities will move heaven and earth to improve satisfaction statistics for the National Student Survey, but are perfectly at ease with police officers punching their students in the face []. This situation is intolerable. We demand that the University of London Vice-Chancellor and the University of London Collegiate Council act immediately to rescind the closure of University of London Union and the prohibition of protest at Senate House, and stop calling police onto our campuses at the least sign of serious dissent. Universities should be run for students and staff, not against them. If senior management refuses to understand this, those who work and learn in our universities will have to draw the consequences and act to show that we have no confidence in those who run our institutions.


* This ban appears to have been extended to the whole of the Bloomsbury campus ( A 'cops off campus' day of action has been called for 2pm, Wednesday December 11. 


Signed by 211 workers at University of London colleges. Contact: Alberto Toscano (Goldsmiths UCU), a.toscano AT 




Maria Aristodemou

Andrew Asibong

Naomi Bain

Julia Bell

Sean Bonney

Bill Bowring

Eddie Bruce-Jones

Yasmeen Conraad

Simon Deville

Alex Dymock

Nadine El-Enany

Basak Ertur

Michelle Everson

Jennifer Fraser

Alice Gambell

Adam Gearey

Sophie Hope

La Young Jackson

Louise Lambe

Sarah Lamble

Laura Lammasniemi

Susan Lea-Gerrard

Elena Loizidou

Lee Lundstrom Rothwell

Ed Lyon

Fiona Macmillan

Tara Mulqueen

Victoria Ridler

William Rowe

Zadkiel Santospirito

Iraj Sheni-Mansouri

Anthony Shepherd

Claire Sherwood

Silke Arnold-de Simine

Hilde C. Stephansen

Clare Thomas

Luis Trinidade

Tom Vandeputte

Carol Watts

Michael Wheare

James Wright




Toby Abse

Dennis Atkinson

Edwina Attlee

Les Back

Vikki Bell

Michaela Benson

Bernadette Buckley

Kirsten Campbell

Paolo Cardullo

Ele Carpenter

Justin Davin-Smith

Sophie Day

Adam Dinham

Windy Dryden

Des Freedman

Sara Farris

Joanna Figiel

Andrew Fisher

Matthew Fuller

Lisa Goldman

Michael Guggenheim

Georgia Harrison

Judy Harris

Tom Henri

Ian Hunt

Ken Jones

Anja Kanngieser

Susan Kelly

Christy Kulz

Sarah Lambert

Vik Loveday

Prunella Lunberg

David Mabb

David Margolies

Isaac Marrero-Guillamon

Georg Menz

Liz Moor

Johnna Montgomerie

Mariam Motamedi-Fraser

Tom Mudd 

Bhaskar Mukhopadhyay

Saul Newman

David Oswell

Helen Palmer

Spyros Papaioannou

Claire Reddleman

Alex Rhys-Taylor

Adrian Rifkin

Marsha Rosengarten

Evelyn Ruppert

Edgar Schmitz 

Benedict Seymour

Bev Skeggs

Alberto Toscano

Sebastian Truskolaski

John Wadsworth

Gavin Weston

Josefine Wikström

Nicole Wolf

Jamie Woodcock

Su-Anne Yeo

Simon Yuill


School of Oriental and African Studies 


Gilbert Achcar

Richard Alexander

Fareda Banda

Lauren Banko

Samia Bano

Hannah Bargawi

Brenna Bhandar

Chris Boyle

Maryann Bylander

Fatih Cagatay Cengiz

Martin Caiger-Smith

Dae-Oup Chang

Johnny Darlington

Zoe Davis

Yorgos Dedes

Catriona Drew

Graham Dyer

James Eastwood

Sai Englert

Sami Everett

Peter Flügel

Tobias Franz

Chris Gutkind

Eleanor Halsall

Hassan Hakimian

Vanja Hamzic

Adam Hanieh

Eleanor T. Higgs

Mike Humphrey

Salwa Ismail

Andrew David Jackson

Gunvor Jonsson

Kalliopi Karakasidou

Sarah Keenan

Laleh Khalili

Debbie King

Mark Laffey

Lars Peter Laamann

Jens Lerche

Anna Lindley

Trevor Marchand

Thomas Marois

Lutz Marten

Alessandra Mezzadri

Owen Miller

Lorenza Monaco

Najia Mukhtar

Matthew Murphy

Pablo Novak

Paul O'Connell

Yoriko Otomo

Manjeet Ramgotra

Nate Reidy

Colin Rennie

Costas Retsikas

John Robinson

Alfredo Saad-Filho

Meera Sabaratnam

Mandy Sadan

Pasquale Scaramozzino

Amrita Shodan

Subir Sinha

Nimar Sultany

Nydia A. Swaby

Owen Taylor

Joe Trapido

Anicée van Engeland

Elisa Van Waeyenberge

Yair Wallach

Lynn Welchman

Alexej Ulbricht


Other colleges of UoL (UCL, Courtauld, LSE, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Queen Mary)


Rebecca Arnold

Shahidha Bari, Queen Mary University of London

Leslie Bash

Julia Blanks

Andrea Brady, Queen Mary University of London

Liam Campling

Rowland Curtis

Adrian Cousins, Unite rep, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Nadia Davids, Queen Mary University of London

Sam Dolbear

Jagdish  Gundara

Paul Hamilton, Queen Mary University of London

Jen Harvie, Queen Mary University of London

Suzanne Hobson, Queen Mary University of London

Feyzi Ismail

Robert Knox

Katarina Lichvarova

Caroline Lloyd

Matteo Mandarini

Sophie Mayer, Queen Mary University of London

Julie McCandless

Sheila McTighe

Oliver Mitchell

Jacqueline Rose, Queen Mary University of London

Julian Stallabrass

Joanna Vickery

James Vigus, Queen Mary University 

Jeffery Webber

Clair Wills, Queen Mary University of London

Andrew Witt

Clare Woodford