Student banned from his campus for non-violent protest (UK)

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artem leibenthal
Update: The college caved under the pressure and basically couldn't name the 'charge' without embarrassing themselves. Here is the new statement from Artem:

The college's attempt to hold a hearing to expel Artem without telling him what he was charged with collapsed on Monday. When challenged the college was forced to admit it had no right to bully a student out of their education. The hearing has now been postponed until the college can put together a real case.

The college has given no reasonable explanation for the punitive measures Artem has suffered. Evidence of Artem's 'gross misconduct' amount to not removing a t-shirt reading "Newcastle College SWSS" questioning an Army representative and sending a text message inviting someone to join the anti-military campaign. This in the college's eyes was enough to justify punishment usually reserved for students who are accused of violent behaviour.

The college's reluctance to put such evidence down on paper is understandable - their disproportionate response is not. We are asking the college to drop the charges against Artem and lift his suspension. All students have the right to voice their opinions however inconvenient to the college management.

Regulars to the blog might note that this is not a music scene post and is in fact political. Now, for those of you who haven't run screaming for cover, this issue does not affect your side of the debate on war or your party allegiances, it should be a no-brainer for supposed Anglo-American society. It should be a no-brainer for all societies. 

This report concerns a college in Newcastle UK and was first broke in a local paper there:

Here's the basic gist. Army recruiters were allowed onto campus to conduct their business. A group of six students then decided to act as a Stop The War protest and confront them. The student in question, Artem Liebenthal, walked peacefully up to the recruiters and asked them "How many of our students would be killed?". When he repeated the question he was threatened with removal by security at which point he then peacefully left.

Three days later the college suspended him from campus totally and told him to await disciplinary measures, basically deciding if he should be formally expelled. 

This is completely outrageous. As you read in the article, the college has tried to deflect initial complaints by saying it was down to his affiliation with left-wing groups! What? Are we living in the McCarthy era united-states, or hunting anarchists in the Victorian days? I've been out of the UK ten years now - have our universities really turned into authoritarian lackeys of the military? If a student can't quietly ask a dissenting question at college without getting silenced then 'disciplined' for so-called shady affiliations, then why not invade ourselves and remove our regime.

Obviously, Newcastle College must be shamed into reversing this action. 

The is an online petition here. But more importantly, you can write to the college using this address: linda.moore(at)

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This page contains a single entry by Andy Best published on September 22, 2008 11:23 PM.

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