Students not Suspects is a national campaign organised by the National Union of Students (NUS), the NUS Black Students’ Campaign, Federation of Student Islamic Students (FOSIS), the University and College Union (UCU) and Defend the Right to Protest (DtRtP) in opposition to Prevent.
The Counter Terrorism and Security Act introduced last year included a new prevent duty which requires Higher Education staff (and other public sector workers) to monitor students who are suspected of engaging in ‘active opposition to fundamental British values’ and to police ‘extremist’ speakers and students on campus.
The duty has been widely condemned by education for seeking to turn teachers and other public sector workers into spies and for normalising Islamophobia. Over 350 academics published a letter in The Independent attacking the duty’s “chilling effect” on open debate, free speech and political dissent whilst the human rights group Liberty has criticised it for “blurring the line between dissent and criminality”.
Examples of students reported under the programme include Mohammed Farooq a terrorism studies student at Staffs Uni who was questioned about his views on homosexuality, ISIS and Al-Qaeda after reading a textbook on terrorism and a school student who was reported for his activism in support of the Palestinian cause.
Conferences and events on Islamophobia at universities have been cancelled or subject to special measures of scrutiny, Islamic Societies have been pressured to hand over their membership lists to police and in some instances swipe cards have been introduced outside prayer rooms to monitor the identity of people praying.
This comes in the context of rising Islamophobia with the Metropolitan police recording a 70% increase in Islamophobic incidents over the last year.
Students not Suspects has been formed to campaign against this discriminatory Prevent duty and to achieve its repeal.
This website contains campaigning resources, guides, handbooks, personal accounts, upcoming events, coverage of the campaigns going on nationally and personal accounts and cases of PREVENT.