University books 10 ‘sitters’

This morning, The Guardian is one of several national newspapers that report prominently the decision by Liverpool University to institute disciplinary proceedings against 10 members of the Senate House occupation.  The Daily Mail reports, ‘Sit-in leaders are to be carpeted’, while the Telegraph has ‘Liverpool to discipline 10 ‘sit-in’ students’.  This is The Guardian’s report:

Liverpool University is to take disciplinary action against students who have been occupying the Senate house, its main administrative block. This was announced by the university authorities yesterday in their first official statements since the sit-in of a militant minority of about three hundred students began 11 days ago.

One of yesterday’s statements, issued by the Registrar, Mr H H Burchnall, said the students’ action constituted a ‘serious breach of university discipline’ and was a ‘contravention of the law of the land’. The statement added that, as a first step, disciplinary proceedings had been instituted against 10 named students.

In another statement, the Vice-Chancellor, Mr TC Thomas, said some effects of the occupation should be made known. He listed the following :

  1. It had not been possible to pay the weekly paid, non-academic staff correct wages because of the impossibility of consulting records.
  2. It had not been possible to prepare properly for the payment of Easter vacation grants. Payments of post-graduate awards were in jeopardy.
  3. The work of supplying testimonials, certifying letters, and records of students’ examination performances had been halted.
  4. The June examinations were in jeopardy. No work had been done in connection with preparation of question papers and timetables would not be available when they should be.
  5. Applications from UCCA on behalf of candidates wishing to visit the university next session were in the Senate House, awaiting attention.
  6. Academic and other advertised posts could not be filled, because some applications were in the Senate House.

Mr Thomas’s statement said that it had been the declared intention of those who occupied the Senate House that the university’s administrative work would be brought to a standstill. ” Because of the devoted work of the administrative staff this will not happen,” the statement added, ” but some of the effects of the occupation are serious, not least to students themselves.”

A university official last night referred to the university ordinance which said that the board of discipline could impose a fine or other penalty, suspend a student for a period, or expel a student.

About 80 students sat down as guests arrived for an honorary fellowship presentation ceremony at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology last night. They booed guests and carried banners saying: “No fellowships for weapons profiteers.” A student said the demonstration was directed at Mr Sebastian de Ferranti, chairman of the Electrical and Electronics group, who was one of six people receiving an honorary fellowship.


Author: Gerry

Retired college teacher living in Liverpool, UK.

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