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18 April, 2005

Should have thought of that before

Last September, the University hosted the Corporate Venturing Conference, attended by BAe Systems, DuPont and other companies with significant presences in the region.  Predictably, certain activists protested outside the building, and six broke into the venue itself.

Several months later, the protesters have now deployed the 'wide-eyed innocence' act, on being charged with Aggravated Trespass ("trespass with intent to intimidate, obstruct or disrupt").  They invaded a meeting on private property (those standing outside were on private property too - campus isn't a public space), and expected the University to like it?  Yeah, right.

It seems so. An unnamed student quoted in a student newspaper (disclaimer: with which I've had problems before) apparently said the University:

... has a duty to allow and even facilitate the expression of views opposing unethical companies and the University's involvement with them.
Utter rubbish. No organisation is obliged to invite protesters into its private property or actively encourage blinkered criticism of itself.
If you want to exercise your freedom of expression, do it from public space – off-campus.

Note that I don't necessarily support or defend the alleged actions of the companies; this posting is about the illegitimacy of the activists' actions, not their cause, and, to be honest, to gleefully mock their naïvity.

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