KCL activists claim their ID cards were cancelled during the Queen’s visit
The uni refused to confirm whether this happened
King's students in activist groups claim their ID cards were blocked yesterday, and that they could not enter campus during the Queen and Kate Middleton's visit yesterday.
Members of the International Feminist Society, KCL's Justice4Cleaners campaign, and the Action Palestine Society were among those reportedly denied entry to university buildings.
A now deleted video posted to Twitter shows one student whose card was blocked confronting the security desk, who deny her entry "for security reasons." They then tell the student to speak to management.
— KCL Justice4Cleaners (@KCLJ4C) March 19, 2019
Action Palestine and Justice4Cleaners issued a joint statement yesterday alleging "a minimum of 10" students in their respective groups were screened by KCL and denied entry. Justice for Cleaners had earlier claimed all campaigners had their cards blocked.
They also allege the police have taken the names of students involved "for their own purposes". A representative from the Specialist Operations team of the Metropolitan Police told The King's Tab: "We do not discuss matters of security."
Reporters from The King's Tab reached out to several individuals affected for comment and received no reply. We also asked group admins of Action for Palestine and Justice for Cleaners to put us in contact with affected individuals. Both groups referred us back to the statement.
King's tweeted a statement yesterday saying: “We had an event today which demanded the highest level of security and we had to minimise movement through buildings for security reasons. At times some of our buildings were not accessible.”
When The King's Tab put specific allegations that student activists and students of colour in particular were being screened, King's said: "we have no further comment on our statement."
We had an event today which demanded the highest level of security and we had to minimise movement through buildings for security reasons. At times some of our buildings were not accessible.
— King's College London (@KingsCollegeLon) March 19, 2019
None of these students have a history of being physically violent, however they were told that they are a ‘security threat’. KCL supposedly uphold ‘Free Speech’ but won’t let students enter their own university because their political views stray from the status quo. pic.twitter.com/is9uJTkpsh
— KCL Action Palestine (@KCLAP) March 19, 2019
One student, who has been involved in Cut the Rent for University of London, the climate strikes, and protests against harassment allegations during KCLSU elections, told The King's Tab a security guard "shrugged" when her card did not work. She said: "I scanned my card a few times and it was red.
"My card worked when I got back to GDS an hour ago."
Another student involved with Action Palestine told The King's Tab: "My card was declined as I tried to get in that morning.
"I went to security and told them that my card was declining. It was very awkward as they looked at each other and didn't tell me what was going on.
"I told them I had class and needed to get in. They told me I would need to go to the main security office to fix my card."
When the student went to the main security office her card was fixed, but staff "refused" to tell her why her card was not working that day. She told The King's Tab no other students had issues getting into the building.
Kate Middleton and the Queen were at Bush for their first public engagement together since 2012. Footage from The King's Tab Instagram story shows Her Majesty had left by 11am, however students reported they were locked out of King's until 2pm.
KCLSU could not confirm whether King's had screened specific pupils, but condemned the potential "surveillance" of students, saying: "It is concerning if students are being placed under surveillance by their university – this is a place of learning, not a police state, and surveillance has a chilling effect on students’ freedom of expression.
"It is especially concerning to us if students of colour are disproportionately being surveilled and profiled as security threats. It is also concerning if access to facilities critical for academic work has been denied without proper information being given to students. We unequivocally condemn surveillance, and also serious disruption to education without adequately informing students beforehand."
A demonstration set up in protest of the alleged events surrounding the Queen's visit is planned for today.