The RSCC stands in solidarity with the five students who were suspended at Sussex University for protesting against the privatization of their school. School officials have said that the students were suspended for participating in an “unlawful occupation”, citing the need to “protect the interests of all of the students, staff and visitors who are entitled to use the campus without fear of intimidation and serious disruption”. We uphold the right of students to take militant action to defend our universities, as it is the administrators and other officials who act against our interests by allowing for the privatization of our universities.
CUNY has witnessed unprecedented levels of repression throughout this semester, with 10 people arrested for protesting. First, six people (known as the CUNY6) were arrested on September 17th for protesting war criminal David Petraeus teaching in CUNY. Then on October 24th while protesting the nighttime raid and seizure of the Morales/Shakur Community Center at City College, two people were arrested; one was a Hunter college student and another was a City College alumni who was pepper sprayed and subsequently threatened by ACS with having his child taken away. For the events of the same day two other City College students, Tafadar Sourov and Khalil Vasquez were suspended until the end of the semester and will lose their credits. After three weeks of suspension, CUNY brought in the district attorney to prosecute them in criminal court and they spent 26 hours in jail.
The right to free speech is being curtailed left and right and many universities are exposing their repressive apparatuses as they seek to silence dissent from students in order to carry out their political agendas. In CUNY, we are fighting against militarization and repression and in Sussex they are fighting against privatization. Every person that has been arrested or suspended for these causes is actually struggling to protect the interests of “students, staff, visitors”, faculty and the community, unlike the administrators.
We demand that the suspension of the Farthing 5 be lifted and that they be reinstated immediately! We send solidarity from our struggle to our fellow students at Sussex University, whom we know will continue struggling for their peers and for the People.
The online petition: http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/professor-michael-farthing-vice-chancellor-of-sussex-university-to-immediately-retract-the-suspension-of-five-sussex-students-which-began-on-the-4th-december