Biscuitgate no more: A demonstration of solidarity

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This cold November afternoon began with a small group of enthusiastic protesters chanting along to 80’s anthems, holding dominoes boxes turned placards, and demanding an instant resignation of the Vice Chancellor whilst standing atop the benches outside Lime Tree; these were clearly the seasoned professionals. The group were distantly surrounded by campus security, dotted around a hundred metres away from the protest.

The lingering students, peeking in from the edges of the crowd, were less sure than the core group about the necessity of the protest, with student Joshua Moore stating “I don’t necessarily think she needed to resign, she does a good job, but the pay is ridiculous”.

Others were much more certain as to why they came out, with a student arguing: “I’m glad there’s still a protest, I’m glad that Glynis has resigned but that’s not the problem, the problem is the pay inequality, the rising fees, and the rent increases.” As the crowd grew larger, the organisers spoke up, quoting the results of the referendum; an 87% no confidence vote in the Vice Chancellor and an 86% no confidence vote in the University’s governance. With this in mind, the march was ready to progress.

Around 300 staff and students as the group headed for the library, flares lit and cookie-monster themed placards in hand. As the 80’s tunes continued, this was set to be something big. There would have been no problem finding a seat in the library this afternoon. Crowds flocked to the windows in investigation of the rainbow of smoke drifting from flares, and the booming of Rihanna’s “Bitch Better Have My Money” from the groups’ loudspeaker.

Whilst in position outside the library, staff and students joined the march as the group was around 500 large as they approached 4West cafe. Despite the excess hurling of Digestives biscuits, somewhat contradicting the placards reading “biscuits don’t grow on trees”, the protest developed into an excellent show of solidarity between staff and students.

Scene from the protest

Tobias Battle, student, stated he was there demanding a “complete overhaul of the way the University is managed, showing solidarity with staff”.

As the group was positioned outside 4West, staff circled the pathways and around the main group holding placards, and students remained enthusiastic and determined to show why they were there. Remaining anonymous one member of staff said it was “Really good to see that the students have taken action on this and that they have seen the exploitation at their expense for the benefit of the governance. We need to clear change of governance for the university to move on”.

The mood and enthusiasm throughout the protest was all that could be hoped for by the students campaigning against the university governance. The event was a strong show of determination and solidarity between staff and students, showing that neither group is willing to tolerate such acts again.

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