Response to Misinformation Given to the Press

This post is to clarify the misinformation campaign that has been conducted in the press against Protect the Public University—Warwick. Many of the statements made by university spokesmen are factually inaccurate or simply false claims. To be clear, this is misinformation given to the press, rather than the reportage itself.

1. The Guardian

‘The university says it has reminded the students that “there are innumerable opportunities to bring opinions and thoughts to democratic bodies”.’

We filed the PPU report on Wednesday 19th June, which clears up some of these issues. Specifically, students make up only 7% of the Council — the main decision making organ of the university.

Then, on Tuesday 18th June, another of our “innumerable opportunities” – the Warwick SU – declined to formally support Protect the Public University–Warwick, preferring to give only a muted reiteration of their core principles, the spirit of which are identical to our own. Our objectives are here:

If our SU is unwilling to make a stand on its own principles, it is therefore not fit to deliver on their mandated policies. This reinforces our assertion that student representation is merely tokenistic within the university. In the hope of making any changes, the sabbatical officers must keep the University on side. The problem cannot be rectified within the ‘democratic structures’ that exist, as new sabbatical officers would be under the same undemocratic pressures as the current ones. The SU lacks the will to act on their own principles. Read on here…

2. Times Higher Education

“A university spokesman confirmed the size of Professor Thrift’s pay rise, but said it was awarded in 2011 after several years of no pay rises.”

This is frustratingly misrepresentative on three counts. Firstly, while it was awarded in the December 2011 meeting of the Remuneration Committee, it was for the salaried year 2011-12. This is important because fudging the years in reports makes it hard to get the full picture. Secondly, it is a very ambitious use of ‘several’. The Vice-Chancellor received no pay increases for two years. Then, a £3,000 increase in the salaried year of 2010-11, and a £42,000 increase for 2011-12. Thirdly, the logic of ‘years of no pay rises’ rests on the fact that there were cuts to academic funding during this time. The Vice-Chancellor’s pay freeze was to show that all staff were bearing the brunt of pay freezes and cuts. These pay freezes and cuts are still in place for other members of staff.

3. The Independent:

A spokesperson for Warwick said the university’s refusal to engage with the occupiers was because they are ‘unelected’.

This feels like a cheap smear, especially as we have specifically established that the representative mechanisms for the students are compromised, and have made this clear in our statement, objectives and in our disappointingly brief conversation with the academic registrar, Mike Glover.

He added: “We don’t even know who these people are. We’ve asked them to identify themselves. We don’t even know if they are students.”

This is thoroughly false. They know who we are. When we arrived on Friday 14th June at 4.35pm, within fifteen minutes we were asked to show our student cards and all those who had entered the Council Chamber were able to show their cards.

In fact, it has been used as a particular tactic to intimidate us. Firstly, Head of Security takes a particular pleasure in trying to remember our names. Secondly, when one of us had to leave for an exam, eight security guards surrounded her, blocking the entrance and taking photographs, saying ‘we know your details, its only a matter of time, its only a matter of time.’ Well, it is not. We are here and we are in constant session.

This afternoon the university closed the Postgraduate Hub, which is attached to Senate House, as a result of the occupation.

Again, to be clear, the university management chose to close down the Postgraduate Hub of their own volition. We have not interrupted this activity. We are in a separate part of the building. We specifically chose this part of the building because it does not disrupt academic activity. To disrupt would be the opposite of our objectives. This is a deliberate tactic of management to cause antagonism among students.

We expect this post will have to be updated with further corrections to the misinformation campaign the university are conducting in the press.

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4 Responses to Response to Misinformation Given to the Press

  1. Oli says:

    How can you expect the SU to support your campaign? Ultimately the SU has to represent the entire student body and a considerable proportion of the student population finds your campaign misguided and pointless, thus if the SU were to support it, then they would not represent the student body.

    • Freddy says:

      “considerable proportion of the student population” – Any empirical evidence for that? Seems like an unsubstantiated assertion. From what I gathered is that they are following the “mandate” of the uni instead.

    • We expect them to support our campaign because they pledged to support campaigns like this one in 2011. We expect them to do what they said they would do, no more.

  2. Ex student says:

    Blatantly biased and untrue. There was definitely a professional rent-a-mob element. One of the protestors who was arrested and on bail isn’t even a student anymore, and didn’t go to Warwick. He is a will-travel, will-protest agitprop enthusiast though.

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