Several students were carried out of Greenwich House on Friday by employees of Constant & Co.Noella Chye

Cambridge University’s choice of bailiffs to evict the student divestment protesters occupying at Greenwich House on Friday has been met with backlash, with two student groups highlighting controversy surrounding the company’s history.

The University employed Constant & Co., an enforcement agency which claims to be “one of the longest established and experienced High Court Enforcement offices in England and Wales”. The agency’s tag line is “ethical effective enforcement”, though CUSU BME campaign issued a statement earlier today condemning Cambridge for hiring the company, which was paid £1.9 million to carry out the controversial Dale Farm evictions in 2011.

The Dale Farm evictions saw the eviction of around 80 families from a site in Essex which they were occupying illegally. One person was tasered and seven arrested. Constant & Co.’s methods have also been called into question on other occasions, including the evictions of travellers at Meadowlands, Twin Oaks and Hovefields.

CUSU BME Campaign have issued their statement claiming that the University’s use of the agency sets “a dangerous precedent for the University to further securitise, surveil, and militarise the campus”.


Mountain View

Bailiffs forcibly remove Zero Carbon occupiers from Greenwich House

Cambridge Zero Carbon Society, whose members were evicted from Greenwich House, also objected the University’s decision to hire Constant & Co., claiming on Facebook that the University management moved straight from court to “violent, forced eviction” without appropriate negotiation with students. It used “#CopsOffCampus” to publicise its divestment rally this coming Wednesday.

An open letter from students, staff and alumni is now being circulated. The letter condemns the forced eviction and calls for no disciplinary action to be taken against the occupiers. 

Commenting on the forced eviction of the students on Friday, a University spokesperson said: “The occupation of Greenwich House caused significant disruption both to the University staff who work there, and to the vital work they carry out to support research and teaching across the university.

“The University respects and upholds the right to peaceful and legal protest. This was an unauthorised occupation, and proportionate legal action was taken to bring it to a peaceful resolution.”