REINSTATE OWEN HOLLAND!
22 June 2012
CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY CONTINUES TO “CLAMP DOWN ON PROTEST”
- Cambridge University upholds decision to punish protesting student
- University staff and students outraged
The University of Cambridge has been accused of continuing to ‘clamp down on protest’ by students, staff and lecturers today.
The Septemviri, an internal body within the university, has ruled against an appeal to quash a sentence of suspension against Owen Holland, a graduate student punished earlier this year for protesting during a speech given by David Willets, Minister of Universities and Science.
The University decided to reduce the sentence from 7 terms to 1 term, through acknowledged that Owen Holland has already effectively spent most of the year under the weight of the previous ruling.
Asa Odin Ekman, a graduate student, said:
“The university is trying to appear magnanimous by giving a sentence which in any other circumstance would nonetheless appear absurdly draconian. Owen has already suffered financially and personally from this needless punishment, which follows a pattern of clamping down on protests by real courts as well as this sham one.”
Dr Priya Gopal, lecturer in English, said:
“While this is a welcome rejection of the absurd and unjust initial sentence of 2.5 years, it is a great shame that the university did not choose to uphold the right to protest that ought to be a fundamental to its ethos. The time has come to reform its antiquated and byzantine judicial procedures towards greater accountability.”
Caitlin Doherty, a graduating student, added:
“The University has a commitment to protecting the right to protest that must not be infringed in defence of a bogus concept of a government minster’s freedom of speech. Well we’ll be exercising our rights in the Autumn and continuing to protest against this outrageous sentence.”
The Reinstate Owen Holland campaign group say they will be continuing to protest against the ruling in the new academic year.
 David Willett’s lecture was due to be held on 11 November 2011, on the theme of ‘The Idea of the University’. It was disrupted by protestors from the Cambridge Defend Education Campaign. For more information on the scheduled lecture, see: http://www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/events/1817/
 On 22 March 2012 Owen Holland was sentenced to a suspension of seven terms by the University Court of Discipline, a statutory quasi-judicial body of the University of Cambridge. For more information about the University Court of Discipline, see: http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/univ/so/2011/chapter02-section20.html#heading1-20.
 Owen’s appeal was held by the Septemviri, the University’s ‘court’ of appeal. For more information on the Septemviri, see: http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/univ/so/2011/chapter02-section23.html.
 Photos of support for Owen are available at: http://reinstateowenholland.wordpress.com/gallery/photo-campaign/