Sit-in over racism

Today’s issue of Guild Gazette catches up on the events of the past ten days, with a report on the protest over Lord Salisbury’s planned attendance at Guild Ball on January 30, and, below, a short item on the mass meeting last Friday (6 February) which voted in favour of Lord Salisbury’s immediate resignation:

On Friday 30 January, about 200 people from the University occupied the Mountford Hall to protest about the proposed visit of Lord Salisbury to the Guild Ball.

The protest started around 1pm when a mass meeting was due to start.   This mass meeting was called to discuss the invitation to Lord Salisbury and to decide what action should be taken.

Mr Oliver Swingler opened the meeting with a short speech denouncing racialism and describing the interest that Lord Salisbury has in South Africa and also the statements supporting apartheid the peer has made during his political career.

Mr Swingler then introduced Councillor Cyril Taylor who had intended to to give a talk to the Labour Society on the NHS, but had been persuaded to address the meeting instead.  He gave an animated address outlining his objections to racialism as practised in South Africa nad told the students that the City Council had recently been invited by the 1820 Settlement Association of South Africa to send a plaque commemorating their 100th anniversary.

Mr Jon Snow then tried to get a vote on his proposal that if the students were given a firm assurance that Lord Salisbury was not coming they should not hinder preparations for the Ball, but he was shouted down and pushed off the stage.

There was more discussion over tactics and a proposal was announced that was in favour of a move to the old union to let preparations for the Ball take place.  This was rejected.

The outcome of this discussion was that it was decided to nominate a delegation from the students which would draw up an acceptable statement expressing the wish to exclude Lord Salisbury from the Guild Ball.

There was a unanimous vote for the proposal to send down the delegation [to Lord Salisbury’s hotel] with the statement and the meeting was adjourned while they went down to meet Lord Salisbury.

They returned at about 5pm and Mr Jon Snow reported that they had spoken to Lord Salisbury and he had told them that he would not come to the Guild Ball, but would decide about the dinner later and let the students know his decision.

At about 6pm Mr Macmillan returned to the Mountford hall, stood on a chair, and informed those present that Lord Salisbury would definitely not be coming to the banquet.

The students then decided to wait until they knew for certain that Lord Salisbury was not coming and then adjourn about 7pm to the banqueting hall to make sure that he did not attend.

Friday mass meeting

At a quieter than usual mass meeting in the Mountford Hall last Friday, some 300 people were present to pass three resolutions:

  1. That this meeting calls for the immediate resignation of Lord Salisbury as Chancellor because of his racialist views.
  2. That all academics who refused to attend the Guild Ball should publicly disassociate themselves from the racist principles of Lord Salisbury.
  3. That the University should disclose all its investments to the students, and if these include any in South Africa, to relinquish them immediately.

Author: Gerry

Retired college teacher living in Liverpool, UK.

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