I was struck about the Warwick situation, can be summed up by this tweet.
— Kat Cormack (@KittyCormack) December 4, 2014
The students were part of a series of protests across England about tuition fees. At this point I could rant about how angry it makes me that so many of our political leaders (present and recent past) benefited from free higher education, with state funding for living expenses, yet seemed to be more than happy to abolish that system and apart from the Scottish Government haven’t abolished them – but I won’t.
The other thing that struck me was where the protest and “incident” took place – in the university’s “corridors of power” – Senate House. If my experience is anything to go by, the offices of the VC and senior management of most universities are places where students, and indeed most “everyday” academic and support staff are rarely seen. In this age of student engagement isn’t it ironic that incidents like this can pave the way for more physical barriers to be put between senior management and students. After a similar incident in my former institution a security guard is now permanently on duty in the corridor leading to the Principal’s office.
But why does it have to be this way? We are at the beginning of a major new redevelopment of our campus. A major part of this is the creation of a new central student experience/ services area. I know this is a crazy, madcap, Friday afternoon idea, but wouldn’t it be great if the Senior Executive offices were also there, or near there. Then they would actually see and hear students all the time you never know they might actually engage with them in new, perhaps even innovative ways . . .