Four students and three lecturers have been suspended by Middlesex University management, in retaliation for the 12-day occupation of the philosophy faculty by students and staff in early May.
On 4 May, students and staff took over the philosophy faculty at Middlesex to protest against its closure, and after management had failed to show up to a meeting with students at which they had promised to “explain” the cuts.
Over the next 12 days, the campaign against the closure grew, drawing in messages of support from academics and trade unionists all over the world. The occupied building was used as a centre of operations for the campaign and also as a venue for alternative lectures and seminars. Dozens of supporters from the student movement and the labour movement across the UK visited.
The victimisation of activists involved in the occupation is totally unacceptable. Like the earlier victimisation of the “Sussex Six” following an occupation against cuts at Sussex University, it is an attempt to intimidate the anti-cuts campaign, and lay down a marker for future confrontations of this kind.
Middlesex management, like Sussex management, want to set a precedent —that it is normal to discipline, victimise and suspend anyone who protests against cuts and the marketisation of education. As with Sussex, these victimisations can be defeated by a nationwide show of solidarity and practical support.