We received a letter from Students Not Suspects, posted here, to announce the start of a new tour, starting now.
16 February 2016
Thank you for adding your name to our open letter against Prevent which made The Guardian last week.
Since last autumn, Students Not Suspects, a coalition, including NUS, NUS, Black Students campaign, FOSIS, UCU, Defend the Right to Protest and local UCU and SU branches have been organising against Prevent in Higher Education. This coalition held a speaking tour in several universities in Britain last term and is part of a second tour taking place across February and March which began at Goldsmiths (see report) last week.
These events have been well attended and are contributing to the development of staff-student campaign work against Prevent as well as bringing to light the fears and experiences of those directly affected by Prevent and the wider atmosphere of racism and Islamophobia that it is fueling. (See for example Anti-terror police question schoolboy for wearing pro-Palestine badge in The Independent).
Whilst universities have not been hardest hit to date; we have seen conferences and events on Islamophobia cancelled or challenged, reports of swipe cards and cameras being installed in prayer rooms to “monitor” activity and students reported or visited by police for reading course texts.
Meanwhile the full impact of the new duty in relation to areas such as staff “training”, reviews of procedures, safe guarding and so on is not yet clear, but it appears that in advance of the next HEFCE submission on compliance (due in April) that some universities are beginning to implement on-line training or mechanisms of compliance.
Discussions in the months to come will focus on the question how to move forward on anti-prevent activity in Higher Education – and beyond.
You can get info on future events, reports and resources at the Students Not Suspects website.
We are happy to help organise speakers or materials for Students Not Suspects events at your institution – and would also recommend the new Preventing Prevent handbook put together by NUS Black Students Campaign.
#StudentsNotSuspects on Twitter.
We hope to see you there/ hear from you.
All the best,
Students Not Suspects Organising Team