Pat Bagshaw speaks out

29 October 1968

Student participation is a hot topic at present, and to highlight this, today’s Guild Gazette has a front-page story about a lecture given recently by the ex-Lady President:

Miss Pat Bagshaw, the ex-Lady President, yesterday became the first student to address an audience at a Monday lecture. She chose a theme of “Universities, Students and Further Education”, within the context she dealt with the much vaunted subject of student revolt.

Maintaining that a university must remain autonomous, she propounded a theme first developed by Sir Hector Hethering, a former Vice-Chancellor of this university. She went on to outline the place that a university can fulfil in society and the pressure from outside, especially from industry, which it must resist.

She felt that the increasing militancy of university students was because a larger cross-section of society of the community was able to attend. Analysing the reason for comparative calm at Liverpool, she said, “The University has taken the right decisions (toward student affairs) at the right time. However, this was often more by luck than judgement. ”

To a largely staff audience she spoke of improvements in the field of education, especially lectures and teaching methods. She condemned the fact that many “professional”, ie Law and Engineering students, did not have much time to participate in Guild and University affairs, because of pressure of work. She felt that pressure must be brought to bear to give these students more time by rearranging their courses.

She closed saying, “I think that education will always be, in whatever form, important – and because of this the university must prepare themselves for change. Students are no longer prepared to accept the passive role assigned to them, and wish to participate in society as individuals and citizcns”.

The tone of the speech throughout was revolutionary, but toned-down to the extent that it was acceptable to all those present, with evolution, rather than revolution, propounded.


Author: Gerry

Retired college teacher living in Liverpool, UK.

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