Petition to Lancaster University Council to redraft new Code of Conduct on Protests

by Tass Sharkawi 27 April 2019, 23:54

Category: University Petition

Voting closed

Thank you for submitting your petition to the Students' Union. As this petition has now reached 150 signatories, the Executive Committee will debate it at their next meeting (in June 2019).

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This petition is the collective response of several groups of Lancaster University students to the new Code of Conduct on Protests. We believe that the new Code and the procedure it stipulates will have a detrimental effect on students’ right to peaceful protest and free speech on campus. In conflating various forms of direct action and dissent and broadening the scope of what can be deemed as protest, the procedure of new Code can easily turn into a tool of policing students’ everyday political life on campus. The vague and subjective criteria set by the new Code create barriers to students who wish to peacefully express dissenting views, leaving the road open to possibly prohibit most protests. The policy also has the potential to hold a student responsible for any activity even slightly related to the student group or society they represent. The policy will ultimately impede some of the activities of student societies and student groups, and potentially some curriculum-related activities in some disciplines. By referencing the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 in the context of peaceful protest, the new Code implies that protest requests could be more complicated for certain student groups which serve to reproduce a form of ideological inequality between students from different backgrounds.  In short, the new Code procedure and requirements embody the very same factors which limit free speech in universities as outlined by the UK Parliament Human Rights Committee 2018 report [1].

We, therefore, call on Lancaster University Council to:

  1. start a university-wide discussion around redrafting the new Code of Conduct on Protests involving various groups of students from diverse backgrounds
  2. outline a course of action for redrafting the new Code of Conduct which guarantees university-wide representation, transparency of the redrafting process, and a clear timeline
  3. revert to adopting the previous Code of Conduct on Protests (2006, 2012) as university policy on protests while discussions and consultations around redrafting the new code are ongoing

We invite you to join forces and sign on the outlined requests made to the University Council.

To read the full statement:

To get involved: