The day began with us all milling around casually, putting the finishing touches to our banners and slogans, and patting ourselves on the back for our page 4 article in The Times (thank-you-very-much). We had made extra cake especially for the occasion, and those who had rushed out of bed without breakfast grabbed it hungrily. The samba drums practised gently in the background, lifting people’s spirits and getting the adrenaline going.
And off we marched… There was a mild atmosphere at first – gentle chants of ‘Muscatelli Muscatelli Out Out Out’. Our banners ranged from the prosaic and factual – Scrap Student Lifecyle Project, save 13m – to the amusing and light-hearted ‘Veto Vito’ (don’t worry, it took us a while to get too, but it is funny).
As we continued we stopped outside the respective departments under threat, including DACE and Nursing. Students from the departments gave very heart-felt talks about why it was so misguided to scrap them. Staff pressed their faces to the windows, smiled merrily, gave their thumbs up or even a defiant punched fist! Some drivers even honked their horn (supportively, we think!)
As the march went on there was a small snowball effect, with some school students and staff members joining us on the way to Court. (Our chant of… ‘join the march join the fight’ might have had something to do with it!). Our chants got angrier and our voices louder . We even started to sing a little: ‘Give me a Yo Ho, Yo Ho, Muscatelli’s got to go’ which got people shaking and bumping…
We finally joined the UCU demo and gathered outside the University court, yelling at the top of our voices – Muscatelli: you disgrace! Save our Nurses Save our DACE! – before we listened to a range of speakers give their personal testimonies of their time in the Hetherington, their experiences at uni, and their robust cases for the under-threat departments. The media were out in force, grabbing people for soundbites, snapping their pics for the papers. One academic from Slavonic Studies gave a very animated talk about the subtle intermingling of culture, politics, and economics throughout the Slavic world: a justification in itself for saving the department.
As we’ve got good links with our fellow students at Strathclyde Uni who are holding a similar demo today against their senate who are considering cuts to geography, applied music, sociology and community education, we then marched across the city to combine the two demonstrations.
Solidarity! Unite! Strike! Occupy!