Aberdeen students vote to oppose Prevent

At its AGM on 4 March, Aberdeen University Students Association AGN passed a motion authorising AUSA officials to lobby against the measures on universities contained in the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, and to lobby for a review of the Government's Prevent programme. The full text of the motion is below.

Counter-Terrorism Bill – Surveillance on campus

Proposer: Executive Committee

Seconder: AUMSA (Aberdeen University Muslim Students’ Association)

AGM notes:

  1. Part 5 of the Bill places a statutory duty on public authorities including universities  to prevent terrorism as part of their functions.
  2. The list of public authorities also lists nursery schools and NHS Trusts.
  3. The Bill grants Ministers the power to issue directions to organisations they believe have failed.
  4. The Bill lays out ways in which universities should dictate measures to their Students’ Union including the type of events run on campus.
  5. Lecturers would have a duty to report students they suspected were likely to be radicalized.
  6. Many other organisations such as FOSIS (Federation of Student Islamic Societies) have opposed the Bill.

AGM believes:

  1. The Bill first and foremost creates a sense of distrust and suspicion within our community.
  2. Radicalisation is fed by exclusion and this Bill will exclude certain communities, namely the Muslim community.
  3. By including nursery schools in this list shows how absurd this Bill is.
  4. This gives unprecedented political involvement in the running and operation of our university.
  5. Universities exist as environments in which people can learn, not feel they will be spied on.

AGM resolves:

  1. To mandate the sabbatical team to lobby against the inclusion of universities within this Bill.
  2. To mandate the sabbatical team to lobby the Government to urgently review PREVENT and call for an evidence-based approach to tackling extremism
  3. To continue to work closely with AUMSA to ensure no Muslim student at the University of Aberdeen feels excluded or discriminated against.