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Disciplinary hearing against suspended University of Sussex students collapses

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The case against the Sussex Five has collapsed over claims of the chair's bias, but the fight goes on writes Lewis Nielsen, one of the students facing disciplinary measures
Issue 2386

The disciplinary hearing against five University of Sussex students was adjourned today, Friday, as university management were accused of conducting a biased and unfair trial.

Michael Davies, deputy vice-chancellor of the University of Sussex, was forced to resign as the hearing’s chair after he was accused of being biased against the students.

The five students were suspended last December after taking part in a week’s occupation in support of striking staff at the university.

Davies had appeared on BBC radio in the morning of the morning of the hearing saying the occupation was not legitimate.

The trigger for him stepping down was a letter signed by 43 Sussex professors expressing opposition to the ‘kangaroo court’ that had the power to expel the five.

Suspension

After their suspension in December the five students were reinstated after a broad campaign which involved a student union meeting of 650 students.

Some 9000 people also signed a petition demanding their return and there was support from MPs and a Student Union-led student strike.

The adjournment is hugely embarrassing for the university management. It showed the disciplinary measures were an ideological attempt to stifle student protest against management’s privatisation of the university.

The adjournment is also victory for student protest although the fight is still not over as management may decide to resume the disciplinary measures.

Still the mass opposition at Sussex to disciplinary action against the five demonstrates the power that students and workers have when they unite.

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