As your elected officers, we stand in solidarity with students affected by the surveillance and disruption to education that has occurred today as a result of the official opening of Bush House.
We were made aware that a minimum of 10 students, most but not all of whom were students of colour and part of politically active societies or campaigns, had apparently been identified as security risks and subsequently had their access cards temporarily deactivated on security grounds. Due to the security presence on all KCL campuses, these students were thus denied access to exams, work shifts, classes and assessed presentations during that period of time. Students were also informed that their names had been passed to the police.
Furthermore, lift and foot access to parts of Bush House was also restricted without adequate information being provided to students, preventing some students from accessing specialist computer facilities which they needed to complete academic work and disrupting their education at a critical period close to their deadlines and examinations.
It is concerning if students are being placed under surveillance by their university – this is a place of learning, not a police state, and surveillance has a chilling effect on students’ freedom of expression. It is especially concerning to us if students of colour are disproportionately being surveilled and profiled as security threats. It is also concerning if access to facilities critical for academic work has been denied without proper information being given to students. We unequivocally condemn surveillance, and also serious disruption to education without adequately informing students beforehand.
As your elected officers, we have reached out to the university to express our outrage and demand an explanation. We will be updating you as soon as we can.