At City Students’ Union, we exist to represent all 19,000 students, and we acknowledge the implementation of the Prevent Duty to be conflicting with our Union values. The Prevent Duty is a strand of the government’s Counter-Terrorism Strategy (CONTEST) and claims to have the need to prevent people from being drawn into extremist ideology, radicalism and terrorism.
The Prevent Duty has manifested in staff under-taking training to “spot and report on vulnerable students to the police, the cancellation of student-organised speaker events, and Muslim students being approached to be informants on their peers” (NUS, Preventing Prevent Handbook). Our stance demonstrates that we do not support this due to not only the inherent racism it is built on, but that it is repressive and adds to the suspicion and surveillance of students across our University. Furthermore, the Prevent Duty disproportionately focuses on Muslim communities and feeds Islamophobia against Muslims within mainstream British society.
Prevent can critically alter the relationship between students and staff to add an element of suspicion amongst the student population, and may lead to a conscious or unconscious bias of particular students from the training delivered.
We strongly oppose complying with the Prevent Duty and believe that students should not and will not be treated as suspects in a knowledge-building institution. At our recent Student Members Meeting, the opposition to Prevent was greatly supported by the student body, and as representatives of them we support the motion’s approval.
City Students' Union Sabbatical Team