UWE UCU’s letter in support of independent review of ‘UWE arms fair’ protest repression

Almost a year has passed since DPRTE 2013 last November and the repression of peaceful student protests against the ‘UWE arms fair’ on campus. Even though UWE told us the governors were all sent our open letter arguing for an independent review of those events, the board of governors didn’t get back to us following their last meeting on 15 July and their draft minutes suggest that either our demand was not discussed, or it was discussed confidentially. This morning, we also got the confirmation that UWE UCU sent a letter of support (pasted below), and that they haven’t heard back either. To be continued …

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Sent to: Steve West (UWE VC) and Board of Governors

14 July 2014

For whom it may concern

As Chair of the Uwe Branch of the UCU, I write on behalf of our members to support any request that may have been made for a detailed inquiry into the events surrounding the Arms Fair that occurred on the 20th November 2013. The students involved will have provided a detailed account of the events of that day and of the matters about which they are most concerned. Whilst we had no direct involvement with those events as a Branch, we have student members of our Union who were witness to some of the events on that day and as academic members of staff at the University we are left rather non-plussed and concerned by those accounts. Whilst we are of course aware that there will be many different and undoubtedly competing versions of the events of that day it does seem to us that a clear and balanced clarification of what happened which allows all sides to share their stories would help to resolve this issue in a way that would reassure staff as to how security is operated on the campus and that freedom to campaign on issues of concern is maintained and enshrined as a right for all.

We believe that an inquiry, ideally with some independence from the University, is the best way to ensure these important outcomes for the future wellbeing of staff colleagues and students.

Yours sincerely,

Robert PARDOE

Senior Lecturer: Dept of Nursing and Midwifery

Chair: UWE Branch of the UCU