University apologises to Brighton student protester

Posted On 15 Oct 2015 at 7:55 pm

The University of Sussex has apologised to a student it said was involved in criminal activity during the protests of 2013 and paid a reported £20,000 in damages.

  Michael Segalov was one of five students suspended over their alleged role in the anti-privatisation protests.

The university had already agreed to pay all five compensation and give them a written apology in January this year.

Brighton and Hove News understands this latest apology is linked to the legal action taken by a student referred to in the censored article in this academic year’s first edition of student newspaper The Badger.

The university said: “In December 2013 the University published two news bulletins on this website following the suspension of several students after the protests that took place on campus in November and December 2013.

“The first news bulletin published on 5 December 2013 was entitled: “University starts disciplinary process over persistent disruption of campus”. A second related news bulletin was published shortly after on 9 December 2013, entitled “Disciplinary processes continue as University lifts student suspensions”.

“Some readers will have understood the news bulletins to refer to Mr Michael Segalov who was, at the time, an undergraduate law student at the University, and one of those suspended after the protests. Those readers will have understood the bulletins to have alleged that Mr Segalov had actively organised or led an unlawful occupation of University property and associated criminal behaviour in November/December 2013 and, as such, was guilty of having carried out (and/or having conspired with others to commit) acts of criminal behaviour.

“The University would like to take this opportunity to apologise unreservedly to Mr Segalov for having published these allegations.

“The University acknowledges that there is no truth in any of these claims, and is happy to confirm this is the case. In particular it confirms that Mr Segalov did not engage in any form of intimidation, theft, assault of a member of staff and/or damage to University property.

“The University will be paying Mr Segalov’s legal fees and a sum of damages to him.”

Mr Segalov, now a successful freelance journalist, said: “Throughout my time as a student at Sussex, I maintained that the campaigns that I was one small part of were peaceful in nature, leaderless in their organisation, and garnered the support of the majority of students and staff.

“The University of Sussex administration showed a blatant disregard for basic principles of law when attempting to clamp down on protests in the last few years. From suspending students wrongfully, to injunctions banning protests, and publishing defamatory statements about me online.

“The false allegations published about myself that have led to this action were based in nothing, were never put to me, and no evidence regarding them has ever been provided. This was an attempt to delegitimise protest and dissent, with a blatant disregard for due process or the truth.

“I’m relieved that the apology and statement in open court will show once and for all that , and encourage students and activists across the country to continue to campaign for a fairer and free education system, and acts as a warning to administrations considering to act in similar ways as Sussex.”

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