College told to reinstate pair

The National Union of Students has called on a Birmingham college to reinstate two students it claims have been suspended for criticising management.

Assed Baig, aged 24 and Darrel Williams, aged 21, were apprehended by security guards at Matthew Boulton College’s new £40 million city centre campus. The “underground” pamphlet, called The Guerilla, attacked the college’s policy on banning religious groups and also highlighted “rude security guards”.

The college has confiscated the students’ identity cards, claiming they have breached their “learning agreement” by distributing the publication.

But the NUS labelled bosses at the college “reactionary” and claimed the students were merely exercising their right to free speech. The college, based on Jennens Road, refused to comment on the case.

But principal Christine Braddock said: “If we have any students suspended we would be taking them through due process.” She said the college was meeting with the students this week in an attempt to resolve the issue.

Mr Williams, aged 21, said: “There are a few policies at the college that we tried to make clear we don’t feel are correct.

“There are some Muslim students who would like a prayer room and a society to express their needs. But the college said they won’t allow any religious societies. We thought that was strange because other colleges have this kind of thing so we wrote an article on that.”

The NUS has written to Ms Braddock demanding the two students, who are on access to higher education courses, be allowed back to finish their studies.

Birmingham Post, 21 December 2005