Letter from Guild President to Vice Chancellor

This letter from Guild President, Sandy Macmillan to the Vice Chancellor was found in the archive of the Registrar. It is dated 11 June 1970 and concerns negotiations between representatives of the Guild and the University administration over the Five Demands – as mandated by the Guild Council motion of 23 April:

Council expresses its full support for the 5 demands of the occupation and directs the President and Officers of Guild in any negotiations to base them solely on these 5 demands. Such negotiations are to be fully and quickly reported back to Guild Council and Mass Meetings.

However, in the referendum of 8 May, this particular motion had been overturned, so it is perhaps surprising to find Sandy Macmillan continuing to press for the negotiations:

“That Guild expresses its full support for the 5 demands of the occupation and directs the President and officers of Guild in any negotiations to base them solely on these 5 demands.”
Defeated For: 993 Against: 1263 Abstentions: 18

The letter to the Vice Chancellor reads:

Dear Mr Vice-Chancellor,

[…] The Negotiating Committee which I referred to in our discussions was set up by Guild Council at its meeting on 23 April 1970.  The members of the Committee are as follows: President, Vice-President for Financial Affairs (Mr Gavin Graham),  and three Ordinary Members…at the present time these three members are: Mr Oliver Swingler, Mr Terry Hobson, and Mr Richard Davies.

I can see that there will be objections, on your behalf, to the inclusion of Mr Richard Davies on this Committee as he is no longer a student.  We are of the opinion that, if this is the case, we shall not invite Mr Davies along.

The subject for discussion, which Council has agreed, has been called ‘The Five Demands of the Occupation’.  There appear to be many versions of these demands, but the ideas behind them are, I think, best expressed in the press cutting which I enclose with this letter.  This cutting is from Guild Gazette….

The Vice Chancellor’s reply suggests, that as late as June, he still doesn’t get it:

[…]  I can confirm the position, as stated in your letter, of any student suspended from the University.

I must confess that I had hoped you would have been able to clarify matters for discussion beyond what appears from the Guild Gazette which you sent me.  For example, what is meant by “the Vice-Chancellor giving satisfactory answers on chemical and biological warfare research”?  Answers to what?

May I therefore suggest that, before we meet on Thursday you endeavour to let me have a note setting out somewhat more clearly the exact nature of the matters for discussion.


One thought on “Letter from Guild President to Vice Chancellor”

  1. Thomas is being unreasonably obtuse here. He knows full well what is being sought, and could easily marshall a credible answer. But he chooses to prevaricate. Looks like a man out of his depth.

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