Exclusive: Sheffield Hallam senior management personally tracked the locations of rent strikers

‘I’m still processing the fact that I’ve got my own stalker, and it’s my university management’

Sheffield Hallam University’s Management teams have been tracking the locations and social media accounts of student rent strikers and emailing senior staff about specific protestors, The Sheffield Tab can reveal.

The emails revealed that Hallam’s Campus Service Team was uncovering information on individual students who they thought were involved in the rent strike occupation that took place in April this year.

A similar incident took place earlier this year when The Manchester Tab uncovered that Vice Chancellor Nancy Rothwell was found tracking the social media of student protestors at Manchester Uni.

Hallam’s tracking of student’s social media account was discovered by The Sheffield Tab after a student who requested a subject access request, posted the evidence on Twitter.

In one email from the Group Director Estates and Facilities team at Hallam, they highlighted that student activist, Zac Larkham’s twitter feed should be investigated and copied as it could be “useful evidence should we need it and they [Zac] could delete it if they believe action is going to be taken.”

Other email chains showed conversations between the Campus Service Team discussing Zac’s activity in Sheffield: “We’ve been informed earlier that ZL came back to his accommodation on Tuesday after a significant period of time away.”

Another email said: “[Zac is] back onsite and has been seen yesterday and today.”

Zac told The Sheffield Tab: “I’m still processing the fact that I’ve got my own stalker, and it’s my university management.

“There’s absolutely no reason why they needed to keep tabs on when I was leaving my flat and my online activity. It makes you wonder who else they’ve done this too.”

The majority of  emails showed university staff discussing Zac’s suggested involvement in the rent strike occupation, but one email joked about Zac’s personal life regarding his running for SU president.

An email sent from the Vice Chancellor to the Dean of Academic Strategy said: “No surprise here- Zac the rent strike leader is standing for SU president.”

Zac added: “They have violated my privacy and I’m not sure how I feel about going on campus when the security team have spent months stalking me and know me by name.”

“I think it’s really disturbing that they are prepared to go to these lengths.

Sheffield Hallam Uni Rent Strike organisation said: “This subject access request has brought to life some really unsettling news that Hallam think it’s ok to spy on student activists.

“It makes us wonder if students can really be safe if this is how security and management behave behind closed doors. Security should be there to protect students and staff, not act as the university’s private police force to intimidate and stalk students.”

Sheffield Hallam declined to comment.

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