SOAS management threatens staff with disciplinary action if they enter occupation

This threatening email was sent just sent around to all staff at SOAS. Apparently the management sees any staff failing to comply with this order to not enter the occupied space as ‘a serious issue’ and will take ‘appropriate action’.

The School recognises that many staff support the wider aims of the students’ campaign, and it shares concerns about current developments in higher education policy. It also recognises that staff and students have a right to legitimate protest. However, we would remind staff that the occupied space in the Brunei Suite is causing disruption to the activities of the School and is subject to a court order. People entering the occupied space are putting themselves at risk of being in contempt of court.

We are also increasingly concerned about Health and Safety risks arising from the 24-hour use of the building and the large numbers of people going in and out of the space, many of whom are not from the SOAS community.

Consequently we ask that staff do not enter the occupied space in the Brunei Suite. We hope you will understand the reasons why we need your urgent and immediate co-operation with this request.  If staff fail to co-operate then the School would regard this as a serious matter and would have to consider appropriate action.

Discussions are ongoing between the School and students to bring the occupation to a conclusion.

Peter Mitchell
Human Resources Director

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5 Responses to SOAS management threatens staff with disciplinary action if they enter occupation

  1. Nicole Baughan says:

    Why not send your sympathetic staff over to UCL and have them you some of theirs?

  2. LordManley says:

    Whilst I support you in your endeavours, that is hardly a threatening letter, but rather a sensible, balanced and necessary missive for any HR dept. to provide for their staff in such a situation. It essentially says ‘If you go in there you will be opening yourselves to a charge of contempt of court and we cannot be seen to support that’.

  3. Maham says:

    Just a few thoughts. . .

    The problem is that the University does not have a High Court injunction what they have is a possession order which they have not yet served. So staff will not have been in contempt of court until the bailiffs arrive and ask people to leave and staff (or students) do not leave. Therefore I would argue that this is threatening and quite offensive to the intelligence of not only staff but also students and if someone is in contempt of court then I an sure the court would take appropriate action consequently there wouldn’t be the need for the school to take “appropriate action”.

  4. Hattie says:

    Also, their claim that we are causing a ‘disruption to the activities of the School’ is false – we are causing a disruption only to the corporate activities which have nothing to do with the actual running of the university and is in fact offensive in it’s implications that what we are out to do is disrupt education, the very thing we’re fighting for. In my opinion at least.

  5. anon says:

    You’re picking on the wrong department – HR isn’t the enemy.

    See this CIF article
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/discussion/comment-permalink/8671083

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