‘Mr Mayhem’ lifts lid on UEL charges

Chris Knight publishes disciplinary correspondence on his website. Melanie Newman reports

April 3, 2009

Chris Knight, the anti-capitalist protest leader and professor of anthropology suspended by the University of East London on charges of bringing the institution into disrepute, has published the details of his disciplinary case on his personal website.

A letter informing him of his suspension states that Professor Knight is “not permitted” to contact his colleagues at UEL – but a later document clarifies that the ban does not prevent him from talking to his partner, Camilla Power, a fellow UEL academic.

Steve Trevillion, dean of the School of Social Sciences, wrote to Professor Knight on 26 March saying he was suspended with immediate effect.

“The reason for that is because of an alleged interview you gave with [sic] a journalist from the Evening Standard… in which it quotes you as inciting criminal action, specifically violence against policemen and women and damage to banking institutions,” the dean wrote. “If substantiated, this would amount to gross misconduct on your part for bringing UEL into disrepute.”

Professor Knight was dubbed “Mr Mayhem” by the Standard for his role in organising the protests surrounding the G20 Summit in London’s Docklands on 2 April. The paper quoted him as saying that if the police wanted ¬“violence, they’ll get it… we intend to be peaceful, but if they press their nuclear button, I’ll press mine. It’s called mutually assured destruction. If Gordon Brown deploys his riot police, or sends in his agents provocateurs to start trouble as an excuse to attack us, all hell will break loose.”

Professor Trevillion told the anthropologist that he was not permitted to visit UEL premises or contact its staff following his suspension.

After Professor Knight asked the dean whether the instruction not to contact staff extended to Dr Power, Professor Trevillion replied: “I was not aware that Camilla was your partner. However, I am happy to clarify that the instruction does not apply to [her].”

Professor Knight told Times Higher Education: “It seems that I’m allowed to see people from UEL, but only if I have sex with them. And I really do not want to have sex with Steve Trevillion.”

Professor Knight has already breached the terms of his suspension by visiting the UEL campus on and 28 March.

The university said this breach, if substantiated, would qualify as gross misconduct, which could lead to dismissal.

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