UPDATE: CUSU’s Quiet Riot for Holland

, News Editor

CUSU and CDE were out in force for Owen Holland, but their protest was a little lacking in loudness.

UPDATE 20th March 2pm

CUSU’s petition has been delivered to the Vice-Chancellor of the University.

CUSU President Gerard Tully delivered the current version of the document to Sir Leszek Borysiewicz at the Senate House this afternoon.

The online petition protesting Owen Holland’s 30 month rustication was signed 2600 times, including 300 signatures by academics. CUSU emphasise that this isn’t the final version of the petition and that they are still collecting signatures.

Now that the Vice-Chancellor has formally accepted the petition, he will then pass it on to the University Advocate, who is acting as Owen’s prosecution.

Tully and the VC

Tully was positive about the procedure so far, saying “It strikes me as difficult to justify a seven-term sentence”.

Within the next 28 days Holland will appeal his case before the Septemviri, seven senior academics who will act as a court of appeal for his sentence.

Photograph by Devon Buchanan


CUSU took to the streets in force today to protest Owen Holland’s rustication.

An estimated 400 demonstrators marched through Cambridge in solidarity against the decision to suspend Owen Holland until October 2014.

The decision was made yesterday by the Court of Discipline for his participation in the David Willetts protest of last year.

Owen, an English PhD student, was not present, but CUSU President Gerard Tully read out his statement.

“I have been humbled by the level of support I have received these past few days…don’t let anybody ever tell you that the idea of solidarity is dead”.

Over 2000 people have signed an online petition in support of Owen.

Following the speech, the crowd began its surprisingly silent march down King’s Parade, along Pembroke Street, and back around to Senate House.

Welfare and Rights Officer Chris Page lead some of the chants of “2, 4, 6, 8, don’t make Owen rusticate” and “3, 5, 7, 9, protesting is not a crime” but the tail-end of the demonstration kept their voices down.

Hardcore demo or relaxed stroll through town?

Also spotted on the side was a solitary anti-protestor clutching a poster saying “a small group of people shouldn’t decide who gets freedom of speech”.

Making their way back onto King’s Parade, the main protest began to disperse. Speaking to The Tab, Gerard Tully was pleased with the whole event. “To get this kind of turnout on 2 days’ notice is incredible.”

“We’ve seen a very broad coalition of people. This is not about Owen’s actual actions, but about justice”.

After the main event, a hardcore group of protestors sat down on King’s lawn to declare they had no confidence in the university.

CDE member Priyamvada Gopal described the circle as a “useful space to hear ideas…this is a battle for the soul of the university“.

Circle Jerks?

Owen now has less than a month to appeal his case, and he plans to take it up with the Septemviri, a court formed by 7 senior members of the University.

  • A Real PhD student

    To be honest he was saved from doing an English PhD and can do something a bit more productive now. Everybody wins!

  • Unedified

    What did he do? (Not sure I care.)

  • Genius

    caption on that last picture. Funny because it's true.

  • lol

    Last photo caption.

  • Genuine question…

    If a student on the far right had droned out a speaker, invited by the university, would CUSU of lifted a finger to defend his right to "protest"? I seriously doubt it. Instead we'd be hearing about how he was a "fascist pig".

    And they'd probably be right to do that too. There needs to be greater recognition that the method of protest, preventing freedom of discussion and free exchange of ideas is unacceptable in a truly liberal democracy, and characteristic of some of the worst political movements in history – movements that don't like their ideas scrutinised or challenged.

    In my mind the punishment was too severe, and counter productive for all concerned. But let's be clear, the right to speech and protest only extend as far as they infringe on the rights of others – and my right to question and criticise David Willets in a public forum last year was violated by this self aggrandising blowhard.

  • Dandy

    I hate those bloody CDE socialist twats, but to be honest, the rulding is fucking ridiculous.

    • Bantor


  • http://www.tapeleypark-learning.co.uk Jane Brooker

    Owen was protesting against a man and a system that would stop young people like my daughter going to Cambridge at all (thank god she's already there). Owen and his friends are heros in my eyes, and their actions nothing more or less than I would expect from people that have had the chance of a decent education. If Willets et al have their way my younger daughter will leave education at 18 and join the masses of disillusioned unemployed with no real understanding of what she should have had access to. It's shameful. Well done and Owen and friends = the parents of every would be university student and every young person owe you a debt of gratitude. Have a good East break, reinvigorate yourself for the appeal. Much love xxx

    • Enjoy

      your daily mail.

    • J.W.

      And what exactly did he achieve, apart from pissing people off?

    • Forthright

      Sorry, but why would this stop your daughter going to university? Students have to pay no up-front fees.
      University will cost a loan of £27,000 with subsidised interest. Payback starts at just under the median wage, at £21,000 – in fact someone earning median wage throughout their career would pay back a small fraction of the total.
      If you don't think university is worth that to your daughter, then either you're giving poor advice to her, you are being dishonest or your daughter is not clever enough to merit university. Call me brutal but that's life.

    • Revd Slipper

      Why would he stop her? That's utter crap. The fees are essentially a tax – paid in arrears. No-one would be stopped going – it's only the stupid assertions of people on the 'left' who tell people they can't afford it who would do that.

      Shame on you. Get the facts right.

    • Shit Chat

      Have a shot…

  • But

    You can't really downplay hundreds of protesters showing their support for Owen by implying they didn't shout loudly enough.

    Perhaps there was a lack of chanting because many of those demonstrating weren't part of the CDE crowd, and were just a wide range of students who disagreed with the university's decision and gave up a half hour of their time to show it.

    • Public School Boy

      I think the point is that this had been billed as a show of student anger. It didn't seem very angry from where I was standing (about 2/3rd of the way back from the front).

      It did however seem like a show of solidarity – but most people seemed deeply uneasy with the CDE slant of the protest. I thought it was about the unfair treatment of the guy and his singular and over the top punishment, not the 'right to protest'

  • Tabhaters gonna hate

    You'd criticise a student protest if it was hardcore, medium volume or quiet, because you're the witty, conservative backlash against any from of student disagreement with any form of establishment, no matter how unfair that establishment has been.

    • Revd Slipper

      Oh fuck off.

      • Tabhaters gonna hate

        Okay, I retract the 'witty' part.

  • Sectumsempra

    Is it just me who thinks The Septemviri sound like some council from Harry Potter?

  • Owen may look like

    Jesus, but he's not the messiah.
    He's a very naughty boy.

    • I'll be honest

      I thought for a second you were misquoting that song by The Killers.

  • http://www.cnet.com/profile/ChiefHuntingBear/ ChiefHuntingBear

    The PhD candidate Owen Holland and his admitted accomplices who shouted down British Higher Education Minister David Willetts during a lecture at Cambridge University should be expelled for wasting the time of all attending students enrolled in programs more important than poetry. Furthermore, I think the Court Of Discipline should scrutinize the qualifications of all the hundreds of demonstrators in support of these culprits because they are certainly wrong in this matter. How do these tantrum-throwers cope with other problems? In 1976, I was recruited to study math at Cambridge University because I earned a perfect score of 36 on my ACT exam twice. Tragically, the United States Of America's Interior Department, that regulates wildlife and Indians, barred me from living abroad and forced me to study at a hillbilly institution in Evanston, Illinois called Northwestern University, for eight quarters between December of 1979 and June of 1982, as Paul Terrence Wiggins. My grandmother Ruth Paula Wiggins's father the "Confederate Cherokee Chief" Stand Watie who conspired with John Wilkes Booth and Mary Todd to assassinate Abraham Lincoln; And, My grandfather William Paul Wiggins's father Chief Black Hawk burned down the White House in the War Of 1812. When he becomes King, will William the Duke Of Cambridge enforce the Jay Treaty by recalling his Irish Cousins and by handing Terrapin Island back to us? The descendants of John Lackland Plantagenet have no claim to our continent or us, who they use as unwilling test subjects for medical experimentation. <a href="http://www <a> .www.cnet.com/profile/ChiefHuntingBear/” target=”_blank”> target="_blank">http://www <a href="http:// <a href="http://.www.cnet.com/profile/…“” target=”_blank”>.www.cnet.com/profile/…“ target=”_blank”> <a href="http://.www.cnet.com/profile/ChiefHuntingBear/” target=”_blank”>.www.cnet.com/profile/ChiefHuntingBear/

    • Armchair Critic

      Whut? o.O

  • http://www.cnet.com/profile/ChiefHuntingBear/ ChiefHuntingBear

    Dear Moderator,
    No one will be able to link to my website unless you remove the erroneous addresses in my comment and include the following url



  • Tully

    should've got more than one jumper for Christmas

  • oh the humanity

    CUSU President Gerard Tully delivered the current version of the document to Sir Leszek Borysiewicz at the Senate House this afternoon.

    The online petition protesting that Tully has been forced to wear a cardigan that his mum knitted for him since the end of Michaelmas term was signed 2600 times, including 300 signatures by academics. CUSU emphasise that this isn’t the final version of the petition and that they are still collecting signatures.

    • I need a Sherpa

      I'm sure he also wore those mountaineering shoes to symbolise the dizzying heights of importance that standing on the Senate House represents.

  • Kanye

    signed the petition. And is so appalled
    [youtube JztZETJ4SaQ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JztZETJ4SaQ youtube]

  • glorious

    What tickles me is that now it's the holidays, so all the CDE communists go back to their detached homes and their chartered accountant dads, and we never hear anything more of this ever again

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