Staff at the University of Warwick have condemned the Government’s Prevent counter-extremism scheme.
A motion condemning Prevent was passed with a resounding majority at a university Assembly on Friday. Ninety six voted in favour, five voted against and 13 abstained.
The Assembly discussed how under Prevent (which requires higher education staff to report students they believe to be at risk of “radicalisation”) Muslim and black and minority staff and students.had already been disproportionately targeted in a discriminatory way.
The Assembly noted the widespread opposition to the policy on campus, with hundreds of university staff and students having signed an open letter to the vice-chancellor in just over three weeks. The Assembly resolved to make sure the university did “no more than the absolute minimum” to satisfy the requirements of Prevent.
Dr Justine Mercer, associate professor in the Centre for Education Studies, said: “The Prevent strategy… damages our community by fostering an environment of surveillance, paranoia, and racism. It encourages the continual monitoring of both staff and students. It destroys the trust needed for a safe and supportive learning environment.”
The University said motions from Assembly go to the institution’s Senate Steering Committee. Friday’s motion will be considered there.