130 Cambridge academics raise concerns about police spying

A letter has been sent to Vice-Chancellor of the University, urging him to clarify the University’s position after it was revealed that Cambridgeshire constabulary had approached an undergraduate to become an informer on the political activities of students. The letter has been signed by 130 senior members of the University, and can be read below:  

November 18, 2013


Dear Vice-Chancellor,

We are writing to you with regard to the story published on the Guardian’s website on November 14, 2013 entitled “Police tried to spy on Cambridge students, footage shows.” (The link is available at http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/nov/14/police-cambridge-university-secret-footage [1]). Based on secret filming, the story indicates that Cambridgeshire Constabulary has engaged in covert surveillance of what one of its members terms “student-union type stuff.” Cambridge Defend Education, environmental groups and UK Uncut appear to have been among the groups targeted for highly invasive practices.

We know that as the head of an institution which is committed to protecting a diversity of legitimate and peaceful student activities, including political and social campaigning, you will share our grave concern at the level of intrusion that appears to be intended in such covert monitoring of legitimate activities. We cannot help but feel that the very threat of such unjustifiable surveillance will have a chilling effect on students involved in or hoping to join campaigning organisations. As teachers and researchers at this university committed to the highest standards of academic and personal freedom, we ask that you issue an official statement condemning such covert practices, which infringe the traditional boundaries of University self-governance, and call for an official explanation and apology from both the Home Office and from Cambridgeshire Constabulary.

We hope that you will make it clear that the University is in no way involved in supporting such practices.

Yours sincerely,

  1. Dr Anne Alexander
  2. Dr Anna Alexandrova
  3. Dr Salim Al-Gilani
  4. Dr Lori Allen
  5. Dr Mete Atature
  6. Dr Hugues Azerad
  7. Dr Debby Banham
  8. Professor Basim Musallam
  9. Mr Bruce Beckles
  10. Dr Andrew Bell
  11. Dr Duncan Bell
  12. Dr Patricia Pires Boulhosa
  13. Dr Adrian Boutel
  14. Dr Deborah Bowman
  15. Dr Siobhan Braybrook
  16. Dr Brendan Burchell
  17. Professor Bill Burgwinkle
  18. Dr Catherine Burke
  19. Dr Christopher Burlinson
  20. Dr Sarah Cain
  21. Dr Adam Caulton
  22. Dr Jean Chothia
  23. Dr Mike Clark
  24. Dr David Clifford
  25. Dr Philip Connell
  26. Professor Helen Cooper
  27. Mr Tim Cribb
  28. Dr Jon Crowcroft
  29. Dr PJ Cunningham
  30. Dr Mark Darlow
  31. Dr Susan Daruvala
  32. Dr Christine Doddington
  33. Professor Brad Epps
  34. Dr Katrina Forrester
  35. Professor Alison Finch
  36. Dr Lorna Finlayson
  37. Dr Christophe Gagne
  38. Dr Sinead Garrigan-Mattar
  39. Professor Vic Gatrell
  40. Professor Raymond Geuss
  41. Dr Martin Golding
  42. Mr David Goode
  43. Professor Raymond Goldstein
  44. Dr Caroline Gonda
  45. Dr Priyamvada Gopal
  46. Professor Robert Gordon
  47. Dr Mia Gray
  48. Professor Nicholas Hammond
  49. Dr Fride Haugen
  50. Mr Ronald Haynes
  51. Dr Anita Herle
  52. Dr Adam Higazi
  53. Dr David Hillman
  54. Dr Edward Holberton
  55. Dr Alex Houen
  56. Dr Sarah Houghton-Walker
  57. Dr Sarah Howe
  58. Dr Jana Howlett
  59. Dr Michael Hrebeniak
  60. Dr MEJ Hughes
  61. Dr Joel Isaac
  62. Professor Mary Jacobus
  63. Dr Hubertus Jahn
  64. Dr Ian James
  65. Professor Simon Jarvis
  66. Dr Charles Jones
  67. Dr Ewan James Jones
  68. Professor Martin Jones
  69. Dr Alexandre Kabla
  70. Mrs Anny King
  71. Professor John Kinsella
  72. Professor Peter Kornicki
  73. Dr Mary Laven
  74. Dr Sian Lazar
  75. Professor Angela Leighton
  76. Dr Elisabeth Leedham-Green
  77. Dr Malachi Macintosh
  78. Professor Maria Manuel Lisboa
  79. Dr Raphael Lyne
  80. Dr Maryon McDonald
  81. Dr Robert Macfarlane
  82. Dr Jane McLarty
  83. Dr Laura McMahon
  84. Dr Leo Mellor
  85. Dr Roderick Mengham
  86. Dr Renaud Morieux
  87. Dr C W R D Moseley
  88. Prof Clément Mouhot
  89. Dr Drew Milne
  90. Dr Subha Mukherji
  91. Professor Basim Musallam
  92. Dr Eva Nanopoulos
  93. Dr Mary Newbould
  94. Dr Sebastian Nye
  95. Dr Rory O’Bryen
  96. Dr Roger O’Keefe
  97. Dr George Oppitz-Trotman
  98. Dr Fred Parker
  99. Dr Ian Patterson
  100. Dr Adriana Pesci
  101. Dr Brechtje Post
  102. Dr Robert Priest
  103. Mr Jeremy Prynne
  104. Dr James Purdon
  105. Dr Judy Quinn
  106. Dr Surabhi Ranganathan
  107. Dr Lucy Razzall
  108. Dr Nicky Reeves
  109. Dr John Regan
  110. Dr James Riley
  111. Dr John Robb
  112. Professor Ulinka Rublack
  113. Professor Simon Schaffer
  114. Dr Jason Scott-Warren
  115. Dr Sharath Srinivasan
  116. Dr Zoe Svendsen
  117. Dr Trudi Tate
  118. Dr Deborah Thom
  119. Professor David Trotter
  120. Dr Eva Urban
  121. Ms Isobel Urquhart
  122. Dr Vincenzo Vergiani
  123. Dr James Wade
  124. Dr Christopher Warnes
  125. Dr Ruth Watson
  126. Mr Steve Watts
  127. Dr Teresa Webber
  128. Dr Flora Willson
  129. Dr Ross Wilson
  130. Dr Hope Wolf
  131. Dr Oliver Wort
  132. Dr Nicky Zeeman
  133. Dr Andrew Zurcher



6 responses to “130 Cambridge academics raise concerns about police spying

  1. Pingback: University dons condemn police attempt to spy on students | Higher Education

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