Response to the ‘Hetherington Inquiry’

Photo: Sean Anderson

On 23 March, University of Glasgow Principal Anton Muscatelli announced an internal investigation, to be chaired by Rector Charles Kennedy, into the events surrounding the eviction of the Free Hetherington, which had happened the previous day. On 9 September, its findings were published. The following is the initial response of the Free Hetherington occupiers:

We welcome the Hetherington inquiry’s concession that the management of Glasgow University did not follow the proper channels, and had not exhausted all possibilities, when choosing to use physical force in removing students from the Hetherington Research Club. We are glad it recognises that Strathclyde Police were also acting beyond their competency. We note that five young people were arrested, and one was hospitalized, in contradiction to the Police and University’s statements on the day. We expect a formal apology to follow from both parties.

The context of the Hetherington protest must be mentioned: it was in response to an out and out attack on academic values, a subject Mr. Kennedy has been notably silent on.  It is also notable that at no point did Mr. Kennedy visit the Hetherington, preferring to view the goings on from the University management suite, or London.

Charles Kennedy’s comments seem to be following David Cameron and the rest of his coalition partners in choosing to blame the messenger – the internet and modern media – rather than the real political causes of social disquiet. We note that the election that led to his Rectorship was carried out by an online ballot. Supporters of the Hetherington were responding however they could, in distressing circumstances and at short notice, to an unprovoked attack that they knew, at the time, to be illegitimate.

It is indeed a pity that none of those involved in the Free Hetherington felt comfortable contributing to the inquiry. This is in the context of continuing politically motivated prosecutions and dawn raids by Strathclyde Police, and the University’s decision to discipline students and staff for associated events.

Mr Kennedy would be better commenting on the fate of Glasgow University Union. Just this week it was announced that it is having 50% of its floor space ‘seized’ by management. Or better yet, he should speak to his friends in the Westminster Coalition. It is parceling up the NHS, and much of our society including higher education, to be sold to private companies. Mr Kennedy should look to the future, rather than scoring points from past events, before he and his party become an irrelevance.

 

 

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9 Responses to Response to the ‘Hetherington Inquiry’

  1. Pingback: Newall orders “opportunistic” removal operation, says Hetherington Inquiry | Glasgow Guardian

  2. Oliver Milne says:

    “We note that the election that led to his Rectorship was carried out by an online ballot without an alternative option.” In what respect? Another candidate was on the ballot. She just lost, you can’t attack a man’s legitimacy because his opposition lost.

    I also think the factual accuracy of this response needs to seriously be called into question.
    “It is indeed a pity that none of those involved in the Free Hetherington felt comfortable contributing to the inquiry. This is in the context of continuing politically motivated prosecutions and dawn raids by Strathclyde Police, and the University’s decision to discipline students and staff for associated events.”

    Pile o’ bollocks in the simplest terms. The university assured you that no information would be used to discipline staff or students. I personally have seen no evidence to the contrary. In fact the occupation believes this to be the case itself – a lack of repercussions being a central agreement to the occupation leaving. The police investigations are seperate to the University Inquiry and so while I can see how many would consider the police a risk the fact that no information from evidence given was published other than a name means that your ability to incriminate yourself is next to none.

    One occupier did submit evidence. The individual’s name is in the appendix at the back. I congratulate them for attempting to make this a meaningful inquiry. The people who did not, out of some bizarre paranoia which they apparently forgot a few months later when negotiation with management or plastering their faces over every media source they encountered, have weakened the position of protest on campus in the years to come, thanks for that.

    • Hi Oliver,

      it was specifically confirmed that the information given to the Inquiry would not have any ‘privilege’, meaning that it could be used by the police as evidence in any ongoing prosecutions.

      Considering how quickly the University seems to have reneged on its promises concerning student services (e.g. the Hive), then we see how people might be wary in trusting them on disciplinary matters.

      Some people may also have felt disquiet at a process headed by Kennedy, who had previously
      explicitly criticized the occupation as early as February.

      Hope that clears up some issues.

      Best

      • Stephen says:

        I am unsure they’ve contradicted themselves on student services. They’re proposing re-purposing some University ground. Switching the use of the ground from one of the Unions to Sport & Recreation doesn’t contradict any of the assurances they made.

        I could understand grievances if the assurance from the University was that student services would not change. But, of course, that is not the assurance that was won. The assurances as-read offered much wiggle room.

  3. Jamie Nicol says:

    I’d suggest it’d be more constructive to respond to their conclusion that the SRC is the only legitimate means of student expression (of course it isn’t), or that your initial demands were ridiculous (they were, but to what extent is debatable), rather than take cheap shots at Charles Kennedy and the Lib Dems

  4. Henry says:

    As a protester who’s name is included in the appendix to the enquiry, but whose contribution was in no way addressed in the paper I will be contacting those involved and expressing my displeasure. I submitted detailed evidence -with the help and support of a lecturer- naming no names but my own. I read the findings and was fucking shocked that they trampled over what i had written without any attempt to address or counter my claims. I doubt every word in the report as I know for a fact no attempt was made to contact me, verify my account, reject my evidence or take my ideas on board. I can only assume this was the approach they took to all evidence and therefore their statement in meaningless shite.

    I would say that this inquiry is the very essence of a university run without any academic rigour. Bastards.

  5. Henry says:

    Also, Dear Glasgow Hack I see the grammatical errors. If only I was taught better.

  6. Pingback: Policing politics? | Bright Green

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