Cambridge student suspended for reading poem in protest against fees

On March 14th, the University of Cambridge Court of Discipline ruled to suspend Owen Holland, a PhD candidate, for two-and-a-half years.

His punishment, which was apparently much greater than the prosecutor initially recommended, was for reading out a poem to protest the imposition of higher tuition fees during a speech being given by David Willetts on the same issue in November 2011.

Sixty of the other students and faculty members who also recited the poem at the time have written a letter demanding they be similarly disciplined.

Suspended from doctoral research for seven terms, for peacefully disrupting the education minister’s speech, in collective verse. Regardless of what you think of the poem or the tactic, the university’s heavy-handed institutional discipline is yet another indication of the closing of possibilities for creative civil disobedience in this society.





Teaching in Further and Higher Education

On Wednesday evening, March 14th, educators from Bishop Grosseteste University College, Lincoln College, New College Stamford, the University of Lincoln and a new higher education co-operative called the Social Science Centre came together at the Drill Hall to talk about the purposes and challenges of further and higher education today. The meeting took shape as a series of short, round-table conversations about why we teach, what further and higher learning are for, the conditions that make the best forms of learning possible, and what actions we might take individually and together to put these conditions in place.

To read a fuller report and reflection on the meeting, see the Teaching in Further and Higher Education blog.