Today, the University of Bath hosted their biannual event entitled ‘Let’s Talk’, where the vice- chancellor and senior management held a discussion for members of staff on the latest university developments. It was also an opportunity for staff to submit questions to senior management concerning any issues they may have.
A group of students from Bath Students against Fees and Cuts disrupted the end of the meeting. They held banners openly criticising the vice-chancellor and senior management, and denounced both their salaries and the ‘business-like way’ they run the university. A member of the group was pushed out of the building by three security guards after attempting to distribute leaflets to staff coming out of the room, but the rest of the group delivered a speech and unveiled their banner without further incidents.
The group of students demanded the immediate resignation of the senior management team, a maximum 10:1 pay ratio between highest and lowest paid members of staff, and a total reform of university governance, ‘allowing more transparency and giving staff and students more control to ensure a scandal of this scale doesn’t happen again’. They also demanded that rent for university-provided accommodation be capped to 70 percent of the maximum student maintenance loan, a price they claim only applies to less than 10 percent of their halls, which ‘effectively turns one’s income into an unofficial entry requirement’.
Clementine, a student present at the event, justified their disruptive action by claiming: ‘it’s unacceptable that the work we students and staff have put in to build the reputation of this university has been invalidated by the greed of our senior management team. They should be ashamed of themselves for exploiting the work of others, but the truth is that they seem to not feel just how unethically they’re running this university. They have been repeatedly asked to resign and reform, but have ignored these demands. If they have no shame in treating students and staff in this way, then we should have no shame in calling them out.’
A University spokesperson responded, “our regular staff meeting is an important opportunity for our workforce to talk with senior management about the University’s strategy and achievements. Whilst we did not want that event to be disrupted, the small group of students were enabled to make their point outside the venue.”