Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Suspended for supporting Gaza!

Suspended for supporting Gaza!
Sheffield Hallam Students' Union is victimising Matt Vicary, Equal Opportunities officer for supporting the protests and occupations against the siege of Gaza. Matt is a dedicated and committed activist trying to force his Union to take up political campaigns and has been suspended by dictat of the President without being informed of the complaints or charges against him.

The only accusation put to Matt was that he was "in breach of conduct" for taking part in a stage protest at NUS conference over its refusal to condemn Israeli aggression and for supporting the occupation at Sheffield Hallam. The student occupations have found support from around the world and we must make sure that some of our most committed activists are not victimised as a result. We are calling for the disciplinary to be postponed until Matt receives details of the evidence against him.

Lewie Morris - a second victimisation.
On the same day at 5pm the Union will discuss formalising its removal of another leftwing officer from its executive Lewie Morris, Union Welfare officer for opposing constitutional reform. That the victimisations of all the Unions leftwing representations should happen on the same day over unconnected charges is a farce.

Several students at Sheffield Hallam University have been threatened with suspension because of their participation in the recent occupation of the university. The student union has refused to condemn this and refused to fight for its own members. We should fight for the type of union that promotes student activism - not bans it.

Stand in solidarity with Matt and the students by protesting:


Assemble 2:30pm Thursday 12th Feb at the HUBS, Sheffield Hallam Students Union, Paternoster Row.

You can also email Russ Swannack, the union president, to express your sentiments:,

You can also join the 'FREE GAZA; Stop victimisations at Sheffield Hallam!' Facebook group and send messages of solidarity:


  1. Some academic staff will be attending to give solidarity. We can't interfere in Union affairs in any shape or form as we are not members. However, we can lend support by turning up. This point was also raised at a UCU branch meeting today (where a motion was passed condemning the attacks on Gaza) and we will put together a UCU motion to try to get our members to agree to some more offical support for students under threat from their union or from the University.

  2. And the NUS response:

    “9. In light of current events, the following statement has been produced by Wes Streeting,
    which can be distributed to student media, websites, student meetings etc alongside the NUS
    statement and blog listed above:
    “Students have every right to campaign actively and vocally on the situation in the
    Middle East, as well as wider political issues of the day, but all students also have the
    right to study in an environment that is free from disruption, intimidation or
    harassment. Where students are currently occupying in teaching and learning spaces
    on campuses up and down the country, they are causing significant disruption to the
    education of their peers. Not only is this unacceptable, but it also undermines broader
    student support for the issues the protesters are seeking to highlight and they should
    reconsider their tactics.”

  3. Well that's unfounded and untrue!

    Sounds like Wes Streeting has double standards as he was quoted in the Independant recently supporting the occupations! :

    Wes Streeting, the president of the National
    Union of Students, said: "What we've seen over the Gaza issue is a resurgence of a particular type of protest: the occupation. It's a long time since we've seen student occupations on such a scale. It's about time we got the student movement going again and had an impact."

    Have the courage of your convictions. Stand by your principles.

  4. Why doesn't the UCU member who posted that comment (of support)above dieclare his / her identity?