Boycott Prevent Policy
Valid from: 10 January 2018
Reviewal date: 10 January 2021
The Union notes:
- The government’s Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 places a statutory requirement on public bodies and ‘specific authorities’, including Universities, to ‘prevent people being drawn into terrorism’ and to implement the ‘Prevent’ agenda.
- The Prevent agenda, as part of the government’s ‘anti-extremism’ work, has been used to create an expensive surveillance architecture to spy on the public and to police dissent, systematically targeting Black people and Muslims.
- Under Prevent, lecturers have been known to report students as being ‘at risk of radicalisation’ for merely taking an interest in political affairs in class or, for observing their religion more closely, whilst politically active students have found themselves visited by counter-terrorism officers.
- The government’s counter of ‘extremism’ and ‘radicalism’ are ill-defined and open to abuse for political ends.
- The act further criminalises Muslims and Black people, and comes amidst a campaign of fear and demonisation from the government.
The Union believes:
- Islamophobia is massively on the rise across Europe, state-sponsored and legitimised by the mainstream media.
- The government identifies ‘warning signs’ of “radicalisation” problematise and renders suspect those with mental health difficulties.
- That the Act could serve to isolate many students who already feel that the only avenue through which the government will engage them is ‘anti-radicalisation’ initiates, resulting in further alienation and disaffection.
- The Act discourages free expression and analysis of ideas. Academics, as well as anyone in a public-sector job, should not have to be a part of this surveillance.
- That fundamentally, Universities and Colleges are places for education and not surveillance.
- The implementation of the Prevent Strategy across campuses will not only isolate Muslim students but undermine the civil liberties of other groups such as environmental, political, and humanitarian activists.
- That the National Union of Students (NUS) and University and College Union (UCU) have both passed motions at their conferences opposing the Act and Prevent.
- As a Charity, we are not legally bound to engage with prevent and should seek to boycott it.
The Union resolves:
- To mandate the Officers of this Union to not engage with the Prevent strategy or implement the proposals of the Act and to boycott it as far as legally possible.
- To work with campus trade unions including UCU on combating the Prevent strategy and its implementation across campuses.
- To educate students on the dangers of counter terrorism security advisers (CTSA) and the Prevent Strategy.
- To lobby the University to be more open and transparent about how they are engaging with Prevent and other similar initiative.