Statement from Management Board for All Students and Staff
Within the University there are currently a number of emails and documents circulating which again contain inaccurate and misleading information about the police investigation at University Park campus, which concluded last week.
The University has a responsibility to ensure all staff and students receive an accurate account of recent events. During the course of the police enquiries we were restricted by law about what could be shared. and the University did not at any stage name either of the people involved, nor did it reach any conclusions about their actions before police investigations concluded.
Given statements being made externally, and in response to some emails sent internally, we wish to make the following sequence of events clear:
1. A member of staff conducting everyday university business discovered that an individual within the School’s administrative team - who is not an academic and not a registered student - was in possession of the ‘al Qaeda Training Manual.’ In any circumstances and in any organisation (including our University) discovery of such material -being held for non-academic purposes by a clerical member of staff - would prompt reasonable anxiety.
2. Given the University’s public duty and its duty of care to staff, and students, this material was quite properly brought to the attention of the Registrar by the member of staff’s Head of School.
3. The Vice-Chancellor, Registrar and senior management of the University decided the police were the only appropriate investigating authority to determine why this material was being held by a non-academic member of staff.
4. Despite numerous assertions to the contrary in recent emails and statements to the press issued by individuals both within and outside the institution, the police inquiry was measured, thorough and low key. From the outset the police described it as a low-level operation, but one judged necessary in law. There was no armed police involvement.
5. The first arrest made by police involved a student (from another School in a different Faculty) who attended the scene and was, in their view, impeding their inquiries. This student, it was later established, had sent a copy of the ‘al Qaeda Training Manual’ to the member of clerical staff in question. When the latter was eventually traced by the police, he too was arrested.
6. The police spent six days investigating this matter. They had to examine substantial quantities of information and also establish the nature and scope of the relationships and sequence of events. The University had no formal power to speed up or end this process. The investigations concluded with police satisfied they understood why this material had been sent to a clerical member of staff. Both individuals were then released without charge.
7. The administrative member of staff was immediately re-arrested in connection with immigration laws. As an overseas national he has failed to produce evidence of his eligibility to work in the United Kingdom. The University is no different from other employers and is prevented in law from employing foreign nationals who do not have permission to work here. The institution has contacted him, and his defence team, to request any information which contradicts evidence that he was working at the University whilst ineligible for employment. The University is continuing to liaise with the immigration authorities and making efforts to maintain contact with the individual.
8. Much has been said on the matter of academic freedom, and whether recent events are in conflict with it. The University has always fully embraced the principle and continues to do so. The University is already addressing issues raised by these events through the ongoing work of the Research Committee.
9, All members of the University can be reassured that we take very seriously our duty to ensure students and staff are free to study and work in a safe, secure and tolerant environment. Anyone who wishes to express a view is encouraged to email firstname.lastname@example.org।
Are you a 'suspect'?
If you answer yes to White Ben's 10 questions below then your profile matches, sorry, nice knowing you.
1. You are campaigning against a person or group of people. Do you announce a target that could be construed by the recipients as incitement of serious crime to that target?
2. You are planning to take action. Do you use weird tactics like reading out banned documents?
3. You are involved in a sensitive meeting. Do you invite convicted criminals?
4. If you think security would have said no, do you push ahead anyway? You don’t trust the police do you?
5. Political demonstration. Do you have a quiet chat to the anti-terror unit and then go, “let’s all read out banned documents?”
6. Someone does a little thing like writing “F*** the World Police” on a placard. You’re too ladylike to rip apart an offending poster or banner, but think it could make your Movement look bad. Do you say “No, that’s not allowed because when I used the f-word I got arrested!”
7. You seek recognition. Do you announce to the press that UK is undergoing an Orwellian Holocaust?
8. Gary Stephens called the police and got you taken hostage. Do you topple the power with no idea what next?
9. Institutional racism has been tackled for 10 years. Do you believe you’re being searched because you're black / Arab?
10. Here's the clincher. Are you Islamic?
- Can-do attitude, I check my email regularly and can send you more info once you've read my writings. I held a position on the England & Wales committee of the Young Greens, that is the Green Party, but any views or policies expressed are my own, at the time of writing.
- ▼ 2008 (4)