Student protesters suspended for nine months amid ‘kangaroo court’ accusations

Students suspended for nine months after peaceful protest…

Two student protesters have been banned from the University of Birmingham amid claims the uni held a “kangaroo court”. 

Simon Furse and Kelly Rogers, both 22-years-old, have been suspended for nine months until March 2015.

Uni big wigs slapped them withe the ban after they joined an “aggressive” occupation last November – which Furse vehemently defends.

A third student, Hattie Craig, 21, was handed a suspended sentence – warning that she would meet a same fate as Furse and Rogers if she broke any more rules.

Speaking exclusively to The Tab, Furse said: “”I was bringing the protesters food, but I didn’t participate in the sit in. The panel said that I wasn’t there – but they still found me guilty.”

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Initially the pair were suspended for their part in a protest in January, where the iconic Old Joe clocktower was broken into.

But, after 228 staff signatures, they were reinstated. Now, both Furse and Rogers have been suspended for an occupation last November. Both protests were held by Defend Education, a group that campaigns for greater powers for staff and students.

Furse maintains the protest was peaceful and that he was not there – a fact confirmed by the panel. Nevertheless, he was found guilty.

He said: “It was an incredibly difficult time given that we had university work on too. This is very clearly a breach of freedom of speech.

“I believe I’ve been made an example of by the incredibly aggressive university management.”

Furse said Defend Education will be launching a campaign to overturn the suspension.

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The panel ended on June 23 but the verdict has only just been announced.

Defend Education claim the university wanted Furse expelled. A statement on their website said: “In an unprecedented move, University management intervened during the hearing and issued a recommendation to the disciplinary panel that one of the students, Simon Furse, be expelled.

“This would have been the first protest-related expulsion from a British university since 1974. The University recommended that Kelly Rogers be suspended for a full year, while Hattie Craig had a recommendation of 6 months.”

Rogers said: “These rulings are vastly disproportionate and came as a massive shock.”

More to follow…

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