Tough on dissent

May 27, 2005

I am disturbed by Lancaster University's decision to have students and local people charged with aggravated trespass for entering a conference on campus last year. The protesters wanted to discuss the ethics of companies with which the university has links and their actions were peaceful.

It is alarming to see such heavy-handed suppression of peaceful dissent in an institution that should be a bastion of ethical debate.

Entering the building was not an act of trespass until Lancaster designated it as such, criminalising the dissenters for trying to make their voices heard.

I call on the vice-chancellor to drop the charges and respond more appropriately, with reasoned argument.

Karl J. Brazier. University of East Anglia

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