CUSU and CDE were out in force for Owen Holland, but their protest was a little lacking in loudness.
UPDATE 20th March 2pm
CUSU’s petition has been delivered to the Vice-Chancellor of the University.
CUSU President Gerard Tully delivered the current version of the document to Sir Leszek Borysiewicz at the Senate House this afternoon.
The online petition protesting Owen Holland’s 30 month rustication was signed 2600 times, including 300 signatures by academics. CUSU emphasise that this isn’t the final version of the petition and that they are still collecting signatures.
Now that the Vice-Chancellor has formally accepted the petition, he will then pass it on to the University Advocate, who is acting as Owen’s prosecution.
Tully was positive about the procedure so far, saying “It strikes me as difficult to justify a seven-term sentence”.
Within the next 28 days Holland will appeal his case before the Septemviri, seven senior academics who will act as a court of appeal for his sentence.
Photograph by Devon Buchanan
CUSU took to the streets in force today to protest Owen Holland’s rustication.
An estimated 400 demonstrators marched through Cambridge in solidarity against the decision to suspend Owen Holland until October 2014.
The decision was made yesterday by the Court of Discipline for his participation in the David Willetts protest of last year.
Owen, an English PhD student, was not present, but CUSU President Gerard Tully read out his statement.
“I have been humbled by the level of support I have received these past few days…don’t let anybody ever tell you that the idea of solidarity is dead”.
Over 2000 people have signed an online petition in support of Owen.
Following the speech, the crowd began its surprisingly silent march down King’s Parade, along Pembroke Street, and back around to Senate House.
Welfare and Rights Officer Chris Page lead some of the chants of “2, 4, 6, 8, don’t make Owen rusticate” and “3, 5, 7, 9, protesting is not a crime” but the tail-end of the demonstration kept their voices down.
Hardcore demo or relaxed stroll through town?
Also spotted on the side was a solitary anti-protestor clutching a poster saying “a small group of people shouldn’t decide who gets freedom of speech”.
Making their way back onto King’s Parade, the main protest began to disperse. Speaking to The Tab, Gerard Tully was pleased with the whole event. “To get this kind of turnout on 2 days’ notice is incredible.”
“We’ve seen a very broad coalition of people. This is not about Owen’s actual actions, but about justice”.
After the main event, a hardcore group of protestors sat down on King’s lawn to declare they had no confidence in the university.
CDE member Priyamvada Gopal described the circle as a “useful space to hear ideas…this is a battle for the soul of the university“.
Owen now has less than a month to appeal his case, and he plans to take it up with the Septemviri, a court formed by 7 senior members of the University.