With Greater Manchester Police having repeatedly disgraced themselves recently, last weekend’s police raid of university accommodation is the latest example of heavy-handed policing, with students targeted once again.
It is apparent that the University of Manchester is playing an active role in subjecting its students to over-the-top policing and heavy fines. Whilst the police do not have power of entry without a warrant or reasonable suspicion that a person is infectious, student accommodation contracts allow the University to authorise police patrols and surveillance of student accommodation. The events of last weekend indicate that University leaders have elected to do just that, subjecting their students to levels of police harassment that they should – in theory at least – be protected from.
Coming off the back of the university’s reckless and economically driven decision to push ahead with a full return to campus in September, it is yet another demonstration of the University of Manchester’s gross mistreatment of its students. This mistreatment has also included the heavy securitisation of campus which led to students being locked up in their halls, the erection of restrictive fences, ID checks, the racial profiling of a Black student by campus security, and the disproportionate use of police power in response to student demonstrations. Even in this context, and despite some success for the student rent strikes, the university continues to extort expensive halls (and tuition) fees from students. It is clear that the university has learnt nothing from its recent failures, some of which we had previously detailed here.
We extend our solidarity to the students affected and to the student-led cops off campus and rent strikes campaigns. We remain deeply concerned about the encroachment of police and private security on university campuses, and committed to the building of safer educational environments free from police. We look forward to future organising alongside students.