Thomas given a chance to speak

This is Guild Gazette reporting on today’s mass meeting, at which a proposal to occupy Senate House over the issues of secret files, CBW research and Salisbury was rejected in favour of inviting him to speak in the Union next week:

A general meeting in the Lounge Hall rejected the idea of a Senate sit-in planned for the afternoon, and voted instead to give the Vice-Chancellor, Mr Trevor Thomas, an opportunity to present his views at a Mass Meeting the following Monday.  Mr Andy Black was the chairman of the meeting, which was attended by some 500 students.

Mr P Cresswell spoke first, outlining his criticisms of the University, saying that students have been ignored over many issues, including secret files, CBW research and the constitutional crisis.

He went on to say that students should question the role of the University and not just “accept it like goldfish”.

During his speech there was a great deal of heckling from the large crowd of people at the back of the hall.

Pleas for moderation were then made, and Mr Jon Snow said that he thought students should make a very firm demand for freedom, but occupation of Senate was not the correct thing to do.  He urged that students demand the Vice-Chancellor come to the Union to address a Mass Meeting, and if his address was unsatisfactory then “we should take any action we want”.

Mr Dave Robertson then spoke saying that the Vice Chancellor had been given enough chances to come and talk to students, and that the meeting should move to a vote on the occupation of Senate House.

Throughout his speech there was constant shouting and jeering to which Mr Robertson retorted that the people at the back were “stupid, barbaric Philistines who I’m not prepared to listen to.”

“Once again”, he added, “the eternal voice of Liverpool University screams and grovels at the back.”

A deputation of the Committee of Six was sent by the meeting to demand the Vice Chancellor’s presence in the Union within two days.

Some time later Mr John Aspinall and Peter Cresswell, members of the delegation, returned to the meeting to inform students that the Vice Chancellor had said it would be impossible for him to attend a meeting before Monday, due to the fact that he had extensive information to collate.

There followed several speeches criticising and condoning the Vice Chancellor and a vote was called for on whether to accept his proposal that he should come on Monday.

The motion was defeated by a majority of 5 votes out of 400.  After much confusion a recount was taken and this time the motion was passed by a similar majority.

Mr Aspinall and Mr Cresswell then returned to Senate House and the meeting was again adjourned for half an hour.

At 4:20 pm the meeting was reconvened when the whole delegation returned.  Mr Gavin Graham reported the negotiations with Mr Thomas to the meeting, saying that they had achieved a “nebulous agreement” but must accept it and prepare ourselves for next Monday.

Mr Richard Davies, with a fiery speech in support of a motion proposed by Mr Cresswell condemning the Vice Chancellor for not coming within two days, criticised the lack of communication in universities and asked where the Vice Chancellor’s allegiance lies 0 to students or to big business?

The meeting then moved to vote on the motion, and after much confusion the motion was defeated by 334 to 220.


Author: Gerry

Retired college teacher living in Liverpool, UK.

One thought on “Thomas given a chance to speak”

  1. It’s good to be reminded where the real violence lay – not in those of us who sought change through dialogue, but among those “barbaric Philistines” hurling abuse from the back and happy to defend the unacceptable with verbal threats and physical intimidation. In the end their violence was endorsed by the corporate violence of the University authorities against the Ten.

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