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From The Socialist newspaper, 7 October 2020

Southampton students oppose unjust collective punishment

For democratic oversight of Covid-19 measures by elected staff and student committees

Socialist Students, photo Naomi Byron

Socialist Students, photo Naomi Byron   (Click to enlarge)

Southampton Socialist Students

The University of Southampton had planned to "hold all students equally responsible" for a party that took place in Chamberlain Halls on 29 September. This was a gathering that most residents of that block did not attend - many were not even aware of it taking place!

Socialist Students deem this suggested blanket punishment unjust, and agreed we wanted to put out a statement expressing our support for the students unfairly affected.

The university has now backtracked and students affected have received news that only the people in attendance will face consequences. While we are pleased with this news, we still thought it was a good opportunity to show our solidarity.

We agree and acknowledge that Covid-19 restrictions are essential in order to curb an outbreak of the virus. However, as students, we have largely been encouraged to go about our university experience as normal.

The majority of students have some teaching on campus, and first-years have all been given the green light to move into halls as they would in other years.

In a time where people are trying to form new friendships, and adapting to a new environment, we think it was unfair to expect students to have reported the party.

It's important for us that in the future we're not treated unfairly in circumstances like these. The majority of us try to take every precaution to be safe and reduce the risk of Covid-19 spreading.

We hold the university management responsible for the situation developing. Staff employed in halls of residents to support us have been put in an impossible situation.

The focus should be on continuing to test all students and staff regularly, and to give support and resources for mandatory isolation periods.

University management has shown that it is incapable of providing this. We call for the democratic oversight of Covid-19 measures by elected staff and student committees.

Vilifying a large group of students - most of whom were not present at the party, or even aware it was happening - is only going to cause tensions within the university community. We call for solidarity between students and staff - to fight for free, safe, and high-quality education.

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

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In The Socialist 7 October 2020:


Coronavirus news

Tories put profit first: Gambling with our jobs and lives

Massive testing 'glitch' caused by privatised fragmentation

Contact tracer speaks out: privatised system 'in chaos'

Under the microscope


Workplace news

Unison: Hugo Pierre's fighting programme to transform the union

Equity 'Panto Parade' demands more support for arts workers

Tate strike suspended

Ikea day of action

York couriers' strike


News

Fight for jobs and homes for all - defend the right to asylum

Spooks step up surveillance of left

Probation Service: 'angry, frustrated' staff need fighting lead


Students

Cardiff student protest demands: 'refund our fees!'

Southampton students oppose unjust collective punishment


Black History Month

Non-fiction: 'Why I no longer talk to white people about race'


International

Worldwide capitalist crisis deepens - step up the fight for socialism

'Frozen conflict' reignites in Nagorno-Karabakh enclave

Germany: "Heroes" strike to demand a pay rise


Campaigns

9,000 for education by Netflix

Free Siyanda Mngaza

Leicester: Don't let them close our hospital

Waltham Forest: Council picks over 60 sites for mass gentrification

Say no to finance capital-backed luxury tower block in Enfield

Socialist Party: Campaigning for the NHS

Final total: 73,586 raised - now let's do it again

Defend Bracknell Community Services


Readers' opinion

Film: 'Sick' - 'They've got people looking in the wrong direction'

The Socialist Inbox


 

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Related links:

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Socialist Students:

triangle9,000 for education by Netflix

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