Sussex University has suspended five students who were allegedly involved in the recent occupation of Bramber House, citing "disruptive and intimidating behaviour." The suspended students have been banned from campus, and the decision has led to an online petition that has received over 3,200 signatures, criticism from MPs on Twitter, and a planned protest. The Farthing Five, including Adriano Marotta and Hichem Maafi, have been labelled as such on Twitter.
Labour MP John McDonnell has supported the online petition and says he will be tabling an early day motion in parliament. One of the suspended students, Michael Segalov, said he doesn’t understand what he’s done and that the university hasn’t provided any evidence. Another student, Adriano Marotta, has voiced his disagreement with the suspension, describing it as ironic because it comes after they protested privatisation on campus. Meanwhile, the Sussex students’ union has condemned the decision, citing improper processes and unjust reasons for the suspension.
Registrar and Secretary at Sussex University, John Duffy, says the decision to suspend and exclude the students from campus was necessary to "make it clear that activities that seriously disrupt our campus community will carry consequences." The university believes it had no other choice but to act to protect the interests of all its students, staff, and visitors. Duffy adds that the university is under a duty to enforce its rules and statutes, which all students who attend the University of Sussex have pledged to respect.