Sit-in students will appeal against sentences

The sentences make the front page of this morning’s Daily Post:

The ten Liverpool University students sentenced by a disciplinary board on Saturday said yesterday they will appeal against the findings and penalties.

The sentences followed a 12 day sit-in at the university Senate House by about 250 students early in March and disciplinary action was taken against 10 of them.

[…]

Professor W D Williams, the chairman of the seven man disciplinary board, announcing the board’s findings on Saturday, said the board took the view that the students had made the cardinal error that because they felt keenly on certain matters they were entitled to take forcible action and place themselves above the statutes and regulations of the university.

The board, said the chairman, had not attempted to act as an arbiter on their social or political views, but to judge them solely in relation to those of their actions which were detrimental to the discharge of the duties of the university.

Peter Cresswell was found to have “personally forcibly prevented a senior administrative officer of the university from reaching his office.”

Mr Cresswell was in his third year reading politics. He is a former secretary of the University Socialist Society. Jon Snow, aged 22, who has been suspended for a year, is the son of the Bishop of Whitby, the Rt Rev George Snow.

When the sentences were announced, Peter Cresswell fired a child’s cap pistol. A spokesman for the Disciplinary Board told the Daily Post: “There were at least three bangs, which caused the chairman and other members of the board to veer to the side.

“It was an instinctive reaction to what the student did, but certainly no-one dived under the table.”

Peter Cresswell said he felt the decision was what he had expected from the university.

“Their reactions when challenged on this type of matter,” he said, “have shown that they are just scared.”

“They think this disciplinary action will stop any trouble, but they are wrong. This will make things far worse for them.”

John Aspinall, aged 22, who faces a two-year suspension, said he felt the disciplinary action was harsher than that taken at other universities throughout the country. In places like Oxford and  Cambridge when students have caused damage, fines of £5 or £10 have been imposed, ” he said.

” But at Liverpool where we did no damage at all, these harsh measures are taken.  These sentences are absolutely  ludicrous. Ten students have been deliberately hand-picked even though there was significant evidence against others.”

A final year law student, John Aspinall was due to take his degree in six weeks.

” I will probably go abroad and do voluntary service, but one thing is certain, and that is that we will be appealing against the sentences,” ~he added.

Trades Council seek interview

Liverpool  Trades Council have called for a meeting with Liverpool University authorities over what they term the ‘injustice’ in disciplining the ten students. Mr Simon Fraser, the Trades Council’s secretary, said last night: “We have asked the university’s Vice Chancellor to receive a deputation from the Trades Council over the matter. We are unhappy about what would appear to be a strong injustice. Some 200 or 300 young people took part in the sit-in, yet the disciplinary committee have only picked on ten people.”

Mr Fraser denied reports that the Trades Council were to call a strike in Liverpool over the matter.

“There is no question of a strike ” he said. “We have no authority to call a strike.”

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Author: Gerry

Retired college teacher living in Liverpool, UK.

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