Today The Times has printed a letter from Jon Snow in which he responds to the recent discussion of the occupation in the Letters to the Editor columns:
Staff and Student: Who is to make the decisions?
Letters to the Editor
From Mr Jonathan Snow
As one of the students suspended after the Liverpool sit-in might I make one or two points with reference to it? As my father has pointed, out in the Times (April 15 and April 17) there would seem to be two sides to the story. Together Professor White and Dr Hair (April 17) have certainly put one. A fact that neither side would dispute is that Liverpool University lags behind many universities in terms of student representation in the university’s decision making process. There is, for example no representation upon either the University Senate or upon the vast majority of its committees.
Professor White pays tribute to the work of the authorities in the past three years in trying to improve facilities for student participation in the university. Yet beyond the staff-student committee that he mentions and for whose breakdown he blames the students, Professor White mentions no instance in which facilities have been improved. It is perhaps a measure of the authorities’ approach to student participation that the University Discipline Board to which I have been subject, and which was legislated for as recently as last November, makes no provision for student representation, and indeed goes so far as to insist that all its members be members of Senate, thereby excluding not only students but junior academic staff as well.
It is correct to say that there has been a breakdown in communications, and for this both sides have a measure of responsibility. But in the final analysis it is those in whose hands the decision making process lies who have the responsibility to keep such limited channels as exist open.
Jonathan Snow, 19 Mount Street, Liverpool 1