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Originally posted by kalypso_v at Owen Holland

fengirl88 comments:

I don't know how to do a signal boost, but I've signed the petition and am reposting kalypso_v's LJ entry here; please sign the petition and pass the word on if you can.

Owen Holland is a friend of a friend - I met him very briefly recently - who is a PhD student at Cambridge University. In November last year, he made a peaceful protest against a visit from the minister for universities and science, David Willetts, by reading out a poem, while fellow-protesters repeated lines from the poem. This caused the minister to abandon his speech.

His case was heard this week by the university's court of discipline. The university's own prosecutor proposed that he should be rusticated (suspended from the university) for one term; the court decided to make this seven terms, ie two and a half years, a very serious disruption of his academic career. His senior tutor and graduate tutor were not permitted to speak on his behalf.

A brief report of the judgment has appeared in The Guardian.

You may or may not think his protest and the form it took were a good idea (I know some will think it was a very good idea). But the severity of his punishment appears extraordinary. Sixty other people (academic staff as well as students) have declared their involvement in the protest, but no one else has been prosecuted; he appears to be shouldering the punishment for all of them.

Owen is expected to appeal against the decision, and has the support of his college and the Chair of the English Faculty.

His supporters have set up a petition for members of Cambridge University and another one for the rest of us. The latter stood at nearly 4,000 names when I signed.

I would be very grateful if anyone else would swell the numbers.

Also posted on Dreamwidth, with comment count unavailable comments.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 17th, 2012 06:25 pm (UTC)
I have signed. I do wonder whether there was political pressure on the university.
Mar. 17th, 2012 07:23 pm (UTC)
thank you! there might well have been. the body passing sentence was the Court of Discipline, which is supposed to be independent of the university, and was chaired by a retired judge. it is a disgraceful decision - the good thing is that clearly there has been a strong reaction against it from lots of people both inside and outside the university.
Mar. 17th, 2012 10:28 pm (UTC)
I signed! Am shocked that Cambs is being so high-handed.

Mar. 17th, 2012 11:44 pm (UTC)
thank you! me too - shocked and disgusted. ugh.
Mar. 18th, 2012 04:13 am (UTC)
Since when is peacefully reading out a poem an arrestable offence? Ah, I want to say more, but, I'm not yet ready to be coherent I'm afraid.

I have signed, and hope justice prevails.
Mar. 18th, 2012 11:03 am (UTC)
thank you very much - I hope so too! the court is the university's court of discipline rather than a criminal court, but what has happened here is clearly not justice.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


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