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Statement from the Vice-Chancellor on the December 3 protest

For many years the student protests we have experienced at Warwick have been characterised by a spirit of co-operation between protesters and University staff which has helped facilitate peaceful protest and a safe environment for students, staff and visitors to our campus.

I was therefore disheartened that yesterday’s protest uncharacteristically saw an unprovoked assault on one of our security team that gave us no alternative but to ask the police to attend the scene to investigate that alleged assault.

Let me be clear that the police were called solely to investigate the alleged assault on a member of staff and not in response to the protest on campus. When the police arrived our security team still endeavoured to get the individual alleged to have made the assault to fully identify himself before the police engaged directly with the protestors.

Sadly that individual, and others present, would not co-operate with this request and the police were obliged to intervene directly. I, like many others, have been saddened by the images of what then occurred which saw police and students having to engage in and resolve an unnecessarily challenging situation which led on from the actions of one individual.

I am sure that the vast majority of our University community continue to wish that campus protests are peaceful and safe for all and also share our hope that this unprovoked act of violence against our security team is an aberration. I am aware that another protest is due to take place on campus today and I very much welcome our Students Union’s reference to that planned protest being peaceful.

Nigel Thrift
University of Warwick