The headline on this article, from the Liverpool Daily Post, 18 January 1997, gives a misleading impression. Both Pete Cresswell and Jon Snow had been nominated for honorary degrees by the Students Union, but the University refused to make an award to Pete. Jon Snow therefore declined the offer. See also: Jon Snow still rebels, to a degree (from The Telegraph) and The Students Went Marching In (from Guild and City Gazette)
It was the end of a heady decade and the scent of patchouli oil hung in the air of the University Senate building.
Nearly 300 students had barricaded themselves in for a sit-in protest – the most eminently fashionable social gathering for a young student at the time.
They were there to make the powers-that-be listen, but it all ended in tears with one student expelled and nine suspended by the university disciplinary board.
Now two of the students involved back in 1970 have been nominated to receive an honorary degree.
Channel Four News anchorman Jon Snow created the spark that lit the fire with an impassioned speech made into the microphone that he had snatched from the Chancellor’s grasp.
Students followed his pleas and marched into the Senate where they stayed for 12 days.
Inspections Officer for Liverpool City Council Peter Cresswell was a fellow student of Mr Snow who was accused by the university of “personally forcibly preventing a senior administrative officer of the university from reaching his office.”
If they are awarded the degrees it will be the first time that they have graduated from the university.
Mr Snow was suspended for a year, but by the time the call came asking him to return he had started his television career. Mr Cresswell was expelled from the university three weeks before he was due to take his finals.
But in the true spirit of the sixties, they will stand or fall together. The newsreader has said that he will not accept the honour unless Mr Cresswell is also rewarded.
”All is fair in love and war. Everyone at the time was a protester – it was the sixties and revolution was in the air,” he said yesterday.
“But l am very honoured to have been nominated. I remember my time in Liverpool very fondly – I love the city.”
The sit-in was to protest about the university’s links with apartheid companies, chemical warfare research and the choice of Lord Salisbury as Chancellor.
Both have been nominated by the Students Union to mark a time when students were politically active and to register the union’s disapproval at the way they were treated.
Sarah-Louise Puntan-Galeo, current president of the Guild of Students said that the days of revolution were over for today’s student population.
”There are now two classes of student, those who have enough money not to bother about the issues affecting them and those who are so skint they have to work in Tesco every afternoon so haven’t the time.”