Letter from Politics Staff and Students to Guild

This letter was sent today from staff and student members in POLSIS to the University of Birmingham Guild of Students President:

President, University of Birmingham Guild of Students

cc. Brendan Casey
Director of Academic Services

Dear Sir,

We are writing to express our concern about the decision by the University of Birmingham Guild of Students to suspend the Guild of Students elected Vice President (Education), Edd Bauer. As political scientists and sociologists with a keen interest in democratic governance, due process and freedom of expression, we are deeply concerned about the implications of Edd Bauer’s suspension by the Guild of Students. The suspension leaves students without an elected representative in a key role. That such a decision can be made on the basis of allegations not yet made public, and prior to the conclusion of any inquiry, is contrary to widely accepted standards of due process. Therefore, we urge the Guild to reconsider this
decision.

The reasons for Mr. Bauer’s suspension from the Guild have not been made public. It is plausible to presume, however, that the suspension stemmed from his recent arrest for protest actions related to the Liberal Democrat Conference in Birmingham. We do not presume to take a stance on the appropriate legal outcome of the case. However, as concerns Mr. Bauer’s suspension from the Guild and University, we believe that an immediate suspension, prior to
any conviction, is premature and highly problematic. The action alleged to have been taken by Mr. Bauer – unfurling a protest banner outside a political meeting – is in keeping with long traditions of individual dissent and civil disobedience in the United Kingdom, and it is by no means clear that such action is appropriately treated as a straightforward criminal matter.

As such, we believe that this risks the appearance that this Guild (and University) is an environment within which the expression of divergent and sometimes critical views are dealt with punitively. This is important not only internally, to current students and staff, but in terms of the University’s external image.

Finally, it is understood that one of the reasons for Mr. Bauer’s suspension was his involvement in organising a meeting titled ‘Defend Public Education’, which took place on Monday 3 October 2011. Signatories to this letter include past and present members
of the Department of Political Science and International Studies, both staff and students, who also attended this event and found the discussion and participation of those attending extraordinarily impressive in terms of the level of engagement, enthusiasm, courtesy and sense of civic responsibility. These are precisely the qualities that the University seeks to foster on a daily basis in its teaching. To hear that Edd Bauer has been disciplined as a result
of helping to organise this meeting is therefore of further deep concern to us.

For these reasons, we strongly urge the University of Birmingham Guild of Students to reverse its suspension of Edd Bauer.

Yours sincerely,

Prof. Peter Burnham
Prof. Sarah Colvin
Prof. Ronen Palan
Prof. Peter Preston
Prof. Colin Thain
Prof. Stefan Wolff
Dr Gëzim Alpion
Dr David Bailey
Dr Stephen Bates
Dr Shelley Budgeon
Dr Jethro Butler
Dr Luis Cabrera
Dr Richard Connolly
Laurence Cooley
Dr Justin Cruickshank
Dr David Dunn
Dr Christopher Finlay
Dr Julie Gilson
Dr Jonathan Grix
Dr Felix Heiduk
Isabelle Hertner
Dr Laura Jenkins
Dr Sara Jones
Dr Peter Kerr
Dr Andrew Knopps
Dr Will Leggett
Dr José Lingna Nafafé
Dr Richard Lock-Pullan
Dr Cerwyn Moore
Dr Edward Newman
Dr David Norman
Dr Richard North
Dr Michelle Pace
Dr Adam Quinn
Dr Richard Shorten
Dr Nicola Smith
Rebecca Steinfeld
Dr Jill Steans
Dr Ben Taylor
Dr David Toke
Dr Eleni Vezirgiannidou
Dr Marco Vieira

Dr Robert Watt
Dr Dan Whisker
Dr David White
Dr Kataryna Wolczuk

Simon Furse (Open Place Guild Councillor)
Bryn Gough (POLSIS Guild Councillor)
Daniel Harrison (Chair, Birmingham Labour Students, Guild Councillor)
Leander Jones (Guild Community Action Officer)
Ma Diosa Labiste (POLSIS Staff-research student liaison committee member)
Jonna Nyman (POLSIS Staff-research student liaison committee member)
Kelly Rogers (Guild of Students Women’s Officer)
Charlotte Rowling (POLSIS staff-student liaison committee member)
Liam Stanley (POLSIS Staff-research student liaison committee member)
Olivia Whitworth (POLSIS Staff-research student liaison committee member)
Alice Swift (People and Planet Chair, Campaigning and Political Mini-forum Guild Councillor)

Fran Amery
Benedetta Balmaverde
Laura Beckmann (alumnus)
Lauren Boon
Rebecca Bridgen
Amanda Callaghan
Carmen Castrillon
Nerijus Cerniauskas
Ieva Česnulaitytė
Eleni Christodoulou
Michaela Christofi
Dr Jane Colechin (alumnus)
James Coombs
Nick Collis
Jack Copley
Lawrence Crompton
Harriet Craig
Pardeep Dhaliwal
Denitsa Dimitrova
Dan Doherty
Lina Le Flech
Daniel Galloway Green
Nancy Gray
Nicholas Hearst
Richard Higgs
Martha Hill-Cousins
Michaela Hodges
Tom Holness (alumnus)
James Hughes
Lana Khattab
Ma Diosa Labiste
Yann Lebrat
Nathan Lightman
James Ling

Darcy Luke
Jessica Mace
Martha May Smith
Bianca Moodie
Elio Di Muccio
Madie Needham
Jonna Nyman
Alex Oaten
Heather Owen
Nick McCoy
Reena Mehta
Robert Merrit-Harrison
Georgina Sophie Megan Paterson
Jake Pembroke
Nicholas Pilkington
Emily Power
Benjamin Redhead
Laura Riley
Ameilia Roberts
Jonathan Robinson
Suzannah Robinson
Jaskaran Sarkaria
Diego Scardone
Barbara Schaller
Martina Schliesserler
Saori Shibata
Liam Stanley
Dale Steanson
Hannah Vasey
Maud Wendling
Kieran Whiteside
Laura Wright
Asad Zaidi

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2 Comments

  1. I can’t draw a line under democracy. | Bright Green
  2. Student protestor attacked by his own union president | Bright Green

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