On Tuesday (March 19) around 10 KCL students were temporarily prohibited from using their student ID cards to access KCL entrances and pass through gates. This coincided with a visit from the Queen and the Duchess of Cambridge, who opened the new Bush House building.
The students were involved in KCL Justice for Cleaners and KCL Action Palestine, one of which is said to be an Irish nationalist.
The two groups issued a joint statement, describing many of the individuals as “core organisers” of the groups.
Allegedly, KCL security staff handed over the names of the affected students to the Metropolitan Police. The two groups claim “police had advised the University to ban all students that could be considered a security threat”.
They also claim that “when students demanded a response from security management, they claimed ignorance and confidentiality.”
Some of the affected students were unable to use facilities, including all KCL libraries; attend exams, assessed presentations, and on-campus work shifts.
One affected student, who almost missed an exam, tweeted a video of his card being declined. He added: “We’ve never been in any trouble and have no history with violence. Is pointing out our unis shoddy screening process for human rights violations and war crimes enough now??? Smells like discrimination if you ask me”.
The Beaver reached out to various students who were temporarily barred from campus. They all said they would not comment individually, but referred back to the joint statement published on Tuesday. One said: “We are standing united”.
We had an event today which demanded the highest level of security and we had to minimise movement through buildings for security reasons. At times some of our buildings were not accessible.— King’s College London (@KingsCollegeLon) 19 March 2019
The Beaver has reached out to KCL and their security team, who declined to comment beyond the content of this tweet.
According members of the two groups, most of the affected students were non-white.
KCL have made it very clear that only the cards of specific students have been blocked. Who are these students – those convicted of previous crimes? No – they are racially profiling certain students / targeting “activist” students. THREAD https://t.co/xlZaATebwc— K (@khadiza__) 19 March 2019
On Wednesday (March 20) KCL students protested against “student bans and securitisation” at the university.
Esther Grace, an organiser for LSE Justice for Cleaners, told The Beaver that this is another example of a long-running method for universities to prevent activists. She said of an LSE campaign: “During the seven days of strikes, students who spent time on the picket lines or were visibly associated with the justice for cleaners campaign were repeatedly denied entry to university buildings by security staff, even just to go to the toilets”.