Students support Owen Holland
Cambridge University’s Disciplinary Court has sentenced a student with seven terms’ suspension for taking part in a collective peaceful action. Students were outraged by the University’s harsh punishment and have come out in overwhelming support of the student in question, Owen Holland. The sentence is considered grossly disproportionate, and the trial “arbitrary and unjust”, in the words of Students’ Union President Gerard Tully. Students are shocked not just by the decision to ruin an individual student’s career, but also by the precedent set: what does this mean for the future of peaceful protest and dissent within the University?
So far, students have demonstrated their support in several ways:
– Several JCRs and MCRs, among others at St Catharine’s, King’s, Queen’s, and Trinity Colleges, as well as the Graduate Union, have passed motions opposing the sentence and in support of the appeal
– The online petition ‘This is not justice’ has garnered just under 3000 signatures from within the University
– 400 students participated in a demonstration against the sentence at the end of Lent term, which ended in a vote of no confidence in the University
– Students staged a silent protest at the inauguration of the new Chancellor, against the new climate of repression within the University
Students will continue to show their support during the appeal process.