Interview With Pro-Palestine Student Facing Disciplinary Action: Lancaster University Makes Statement As Encampment Closes


On 17th June 2024, the Lancaster Solidarity Encampment stationed in Alexandra Square released a statement calling attention to the disciplinary action taken against encampment member and student Joe.

Two weeks prior, he was reported to the police by Lancaster University and threatened with further university disciplinary action.

The report occurred after an occupation of the Vice Chancellor’s office, as well as stating that acts of protest have led him to be accused of bringing the university into ‘disrepute’.

The encampment has called this an “intimidation tactic from the university to stop student protest on campus, by singling one individual out of hundreds”.

In an exclusive interview with Joe, SCAN asked him what kind of effect the actions of Lancaster University have had on him.

“It has made me fear for my degree and fear for my future,” Joe confessed, “because I could’ve had a criminal record”.

“To get a call from the police is scary and to have a criminal record would potentially ruin my prospects of getting a job”.

However, this clear quickly subsided. “As soon as I got legal advice I knew that what they were accusing me of was completely baseless and wouldn’t hold up”.

The university has temporarily excluded Joe due to “disruption”, “anti-social behaviour” and “acts of omission that threaten the health or safety of themselves or others” during his time at the encampment.

“Luckily all the support I’ve been getting, and the fact that their accusations have been completely baseless, so it hasn’t affected me too negatively but it’s still a scary thing and it could’ve been really bad if I hadn’t had all the support that I’d had”.

Moving on, Joe hopes that the university will drop its investigations against him. “Following the police investigation being dropped, personally I see it that the uni should drop the investigation, for if the police can’t find anything who are they to find anything?”

Nevertheless, Joe worries that he will be punished for acts of protest such as putting Lancaster University in “disrepute”, which he claims “isn’t obviously a legal thing, that’s one of their own little made up laws”.

“They might also go down the route of sound from some our rallies, even though whenever we’ve done a rally we’ve checked where exam halls are and tried to avoid them they’re still trying to get us for sound”.

Despite facing this potential punishment from the university, Joe remarks that these acts of protest have clearly worked, with LU addressing their policies and working towards their demand to “reaffirm its status as a sanctuary university by offering scholarships to Palestinians”.

Joe states that this, alongside the Vice Chancellor acknowledging their demands for the first time in demilitarise Lancaster’s history, is sure proof of the encampment’s success.

“From ignoring us they’re now actively trying to attack us and it clearly shows that what we’re doing is working and they’ve had to change their tactics to stop us”.

The encampment is now coming to a close, with the 19th of June being the date previously voted to start packing up due to students leaving for the summer.

However, on this day, the university also issued a statement demanding that the encampment move from Alexandra Square within 48 hours.

Joe believes that “Picking [a date] so close to the end of term shows how desperate the university are frankly. It’s a shame they did it so late though, we would have loved to resist them in court”.

In a statement to SCAN in response to this article, Lancaster University has stated that they have “adopted an understanding and tolerant approach to the protests from students in the encampment”.

“We are committed to upholding the right to freedom of speech for our staff and students and enabling them to peacefully protest within the law, and University regulations”.

“Following an apparent break-in at night to staff offices in University House and repeated sightings of intruders on the roof which were reported to the police, an individual was identified and invited for interview by the police”.

“We understand that the investigation is ongoing. A student has been suspended for a temporary period pending  the completion of the police and internal disciplinary investigations (under  the University’s Student Discipline Regulations)”.

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