Joint society and sports statement on the Sussex Five

University of Sussex Societies and Sports Clubs Joint Statement on the Sussex Five

To Vice-Chancellor Michael Farthing,

On Wednesday 4th December 2013, the University of Sussex management took the decision to suspend the studies of five university students, commonly referred to as the Sussex Five, and exclude them from campus.

This was due to their involvement in the strike called by three unions on Tuesday 3rd December 2013, and their involvement in the Occupy Sussex movement, which challenged the continued outsourcing of university facilities to the private catering company Chartwells. The charge directed at the Sussex Five was “disruptive and intimidating behaviour.”

We condemn the repressive actions taken by university management towards the Sussex Five. These measures are a direct assault on freedom of speech and the right to protest peacefully on university campuses.

The abrogation of the right to protest freely on campus without persecution is unacceptable. We believe that the suspension of the five students is a result of their political activities and has been used an intimidation tactic to thwart further democratic protest against university administration policy.

On Monday 9th of December as a result of student discontent with the suspension of the Sussex Five, the Students Union is holding an Emergency Members Meeting to discuss the callous disregard university management have for the rights of its students.

These issues transcend political ideology and concern all students who value democratic plurality, open debate and freedom of speech. We demand the reinstatement of the Sussex Five with immediate effect.