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University Of London Bans Students From Protesting

06/08/2013 16:00 BST
PA

The UK's largest university has banned students from protesting - and has threatened legal action if students do not comply.

SEE ALSO: University of London Students Protest As 'Chalker' Pleads Not Guilty

The University of London decision, which has been branded "draconian", follows recent student protests calling for equal working conditions for the university's staff.

One student was arrested last month after chalking a slogan on the pavement in front of the institution's Senate House building in Bloomsbury.

The university, which consists of 19 self-governing colleges, sent a letter to the student union (ULU) warning of future prosecution if students dared protest on university property.

"The University’s management is no longer willing to tolerate demonstrations in Senate House, the cloister entrance and the East and West car-parks," the letter read. "If this policy is not followed then the University will consider protesters to be trespassing on University property and will take all the necessary legal measures to prevent and prosecute such trespass."

The university added the recent protests is "having a negative impact on students and visitors".

"It is difficult to recall any other student campaign that has targeted a Library building and it seems incongruous that a student led campaign would wish to undermine the scholarship of their own community in this way," the letter continued.

Michael Chessum, president of the ULU, dubbed the decision "outrageous", saying the letter "threatened" students.

"Will the institution really sink so low as to seek the prosecution of any more members of the University community?," he asked in a public response to the university. "If it does, it will be to its eternal disgrace.

"This is an outrageous and draconian response from University management, and it comes after the violent arrest of a campaign supporter on campus on 16 July. Clearly the University is rattled by campaign, which has highlighted the stark inequalities at the heart of the institution in the national press and beyond."

A spokesperson for the university said: “The university is not preventing student protest, we are merely trying to ensure we protect the best interests of the wider student body, the researchers and other users of Senate House.”