• Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

EUSA launch open letter condemning heavy-handed policing on campus

ByLucy Frewin

Oct 27, 2023
Street lights light up a square in front of a building with a dome

The Edinburgh University Student’s Association (EUSA) has launched an open letter calling on the university to protect student’s right to protest without intimidation. 

Addressed to Vice Chancellor Sir Peter Matheison, the open letter demands an immediate commitment from the university on the right to protest on campus and the protection of students from heavy handed policing. 

The open letter comes in light of the detaining of a University of Edinburgh student by police on campus, that took place on 20 October. 

The student was detained for smearing red paint on the entrance to McEwan Hall as part of a pro-Palestine protest. 

EUSA states that the presence of police on campus in response to the protest aimed to “intimidate protestors and discourage students from taking part in direct action.”

The open letter reaffirms that: “The University’s commitment to freedom of expression and to students’ wellbeing must extend to student protestors.

“These protestors hold the University and political leaders to account.  It is unacceptable for the University to prioritise the protection of its property over the protection of its students.”

Within the open letter, EUSA calls on the university to make three commitments: 

“A public statement affirming students’ right to protest, on and off our campuses.  

“A commitment to a proportionate, security-first approach to managing on-campus protests, which prioritises student welfare and is in-line with the University’s duty of care towards students 

“Ensuring University Security staff are equipped with the skills to effectively deescalate situations, including at protests, and engage with students from marginalised groups.”

The open letter highlights in particular the impact of a heavy police presence on international students. 

It states: “This type of heavy handed policing is particularly harmful for racialised and international members of our community, many of whom are understandably apprehensive of Police presence on campus, fearful of Police violence and aware of the impact an interaction with the Police might have on their immigration status.”

Potterrow at night 01” by byronv2 is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.