Michael Farthing, as the V.C. of a Uni, if you have to call in armed riot police to defend you against your own students, you’re doing it wrong

It really feels like summer already. Sparsely populated lectures, virtually silent seminars, and the warmest sun of the year so far.

Things certainly got heated on campus yesterday. And as usual, I was stuck in some shitty lecture while all hell broke loose outside, diligently reported on Twitter. It started serenely enough as a bright, chilly, sunny(-ish) day, and a carnival of protest in Library square. But it was cold, and I had coursework to do, so Ringworldian and I went to the pub, and then onto a tedium lecture. The real topic escapes me.

Next thing I hear, students were occupying Sussex House. I have heard several accounts of police brutality and whatnot, but the fact of the matter was a large number police vans, riot vans, cars, offices and dogs hailed down on the university yesterday.

Now today,  council and senate meetings have been (reportedly, at time of writing) rescheduled with less than a day’s notice.

In my humble opinion the whole episode reveals some very worrying things, which ultimately, to this blogger, will screw things up bigtime:

  • The Vice-Chancellor/senior management have very little to no respect for anyone below them, be it staff, senate, or students, demonstrating this over the past few months by completely ignoring any counter-proposals, yesterday by calling in the riot police on their own students, and today by rescheduling both council and senate meetings at a moment’s notice. They feel even less need to listen to anyone that disagrees with their wants.
  • The students feel it necessary to storm and occupy buildings and meetings to make themselves heard, as a result of the above.

The next step in this path we seem to be going down is a UCU strike, which was voted in by 76% of an 80% turnout the other day. From the way things have been going, we’re going to have to go further than Westminster, so it figures we’ll have to go further than Leeds. Yet again Sussex will be at the forefront of standing up for itself.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Michael Farthing is running this University into the ground, he’s running my department, my degree into the pits of worthlessness, and if he doesn’t buck up his ideas he’ll have a strike on his hands.



About Jack
A small-time traveller in a big-time world

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