Another response to the Liverpool situation in the letters column of the Times today, this time from Peter Flynn, lecturer in the Politics department:
Staff And Students At Liverpool
From Mr Peter Flynn
In view of the letters from Professor White and Dr. Hair (April 17) it should at least be pointed out that there is a strong body of opinion among staff and students at Liverpool that the sentences passed are excessively severe, a feeling already expressed by many outside the university. It is perfectly true, as Professor White emphasizes, that staff-student relations have been, for the most part, very good in Liverpool and that strong efforts were made to communicate with students before the sit-in. It would, therefore, be all the greater pity if an over-reaction on the part of the authorities were to alienate much moderate opinion and help to produce that very bruising of the ‘centralist conscience’ which Dr Hair so much fears.
Unsubstantiated accusations that some members of staff are ‘devoted to smashing our democratic society’ are already an indication of the degree of hysteria which is entering the debate. It is precisely those who wish to preserve good staff-student, and inter-staff, relations who most regret the harshness of the sentences.
Peter Flynn, Lecturer in Latin-American Politics, Department of Political Theory and Institutions, University of Liverpool PO Box 147, Liverpool