Lancaster student barred from campus and reported to police for role in encampment

Third year student Joe is now fearful he might not be able to graduate

A Lancaster University student set to graduate this year says he has been barred from campus and reported to the police for his role in the Lancaster Palestine Solidarity Encampment.

In a letter received from the university on Tuesday 4th June and seen by The Lancaster Tab, third year student Joe was told he had been excluded from the university with immediate effect, reported to the police and threatened with further disciplinary action.

Joe received the letter on the same day that protesters involved in the Lancaster University pro-Palestine encampment in Alex Square occupied the vice chancellor’s office overnight. They spent the night in the office, which belongs to vice chancellor Andy Schofield, before leaving in the morning.

The letter claimed that Joe had “allegedly gained unauthorised access, out of hours, to University House and allegedly undertaken unauthorised activity in breach of University Discipline Regulations on Tuesday 4th June 2024”.

The university has said in a statement that this incident was “an apparent break-in at night to staff offices in University House and repeated sightings of intruders on the roof”.

Joe told The Tab Lancaster: “I’m not allowed on campus unless I have written permission from management”.

Joe, who is due to graduate this year, is also fearful of what this will mean for his university progression as he now under university investigation and will only find out what will come of his degree following the investigation’s completion.

However, he told The Lancaster Tab: “The university investigation was put on pause, because they didn’t want it to interfere with the police investigation” so he is still unsure of the outcome.

Joe says that his case has since been dismissed by the police due to insufficient evidence but the university has disputed this and said that the investigation is still ongoing.

Lancaster Palestine Solidarity Encampment called the exclusion an intimidation tactic to stop student protests on campus, saying: “This is part of an increased repression by universities and the state in response to the ever strengthening Palestine solidarity movements across the country and globe.”

The group has called the disciplinary action “malicious and incompetent” and that the police dropping the case due to a lack of evidence shows “what a politically motivated and baseless farce this investigation is.”

Lancaster University said: “Following an apparent break-in at night to staff offices in University House and repeated sightings of intruders on the roof which were reported to the police, an individual was identified and invited for interview by the police. We understand that investigation is ongoing.

“A student has been suspended for a temporary period pending the completion of the police and internal disciplinary investigations (under the university’s Student Discipline Regulations).”

Lancaster Police has been contacted for comment.

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