In a space of less than 24 hours the University have changed their minds. They were previously denying the suspended students all access to University premises, with no exemption for welfare services. This was in spite of information that they had sent round to a number of MPs (it is expected all MPs) claiming that they could access these services. When they were asked if they were going to send round correct information, they changed tack - and are now granting access. From this we can learn/confirm a few things:
- The University don’t actually care about student’s welfare. When the suspended student mentioned her depression, or that her doctor had advised her to seek these services, they remained steadfast in denying access to services. This sanction was being administered despite none of the allegations against her having been proved, or any investigation beginning in any meaningful sense.
- The University do care about political pressure. They have exploited privileged access to their many channels of communication and been in contact with a very large number of MPs, spreading misinformation in an attempt to undermine support for the suspendees. When they were called out on this they changed tack in expectation of backlash from students, the public, and those same MPs.
Sent 3rd March
Dear Dr Twine and Ms Anderson,
I am writing to request permission to enter University premises for two purposes:
- To enter the Guild of Students and seek representation and advice from my elected Sabbatical Officer team and other services.
- To use the services of 3 Elms Road - in particular, to attend counselling sessions.
I am willing to inform you when I am planning on entering and leaving premises, or to other arrangements that allow you to monitor my presence.
This is incredibly important that I can do this - I am currently suffering depression, stemming from my suspension and criminal investigation and am being recommended counselling by my doctor. Further to this,I am entitled to the services offered by my students’ union under the Education Act.
Received 4th March
Dear Ms Rogers
I passed your request to the Director of Academic Services who has responsibility under Regulations Section 8 for temporary suspension of students. Given the ongoing police and University investigations, the terms of your suspension have not been altered and will be reviewed again at the end of March.
Your GP will have details of alternative sources of counselling available on the NHS, and it may be possible for you to access advice and support from Sabbatical Officers via telephone or email.
Dr Chris Twine
Sent 5th March
Dear Dr Twine,
My local MP, Steve McCabe, as well as a number of other MPs, have been in contact with me, telling me that they have received a letter from the University signed by David Eastwood informing them that “the students will be offered support and advice from the welfare service regardless of the exclusion decision”. I have seen a photocopy the letter signed by Professor Eastwood, and I can forward you a scanned copy on request if you would like to see proof.
As you have, in the email below, informed me that I will not be able to access these services, can I assume that you will be writing to all MPs previously contacted with the correct information? This misinformation is leading to a lack of support from a number of MPs, which they are suggesting they would otherwise give. As such, it seems only just that they are given the correct information.
Received 5th March
I am in receipt of this letter, and will confirm the following to you later today by post:
-You are granted access to campus solely for purposes of welfare support. This may include visiting your Welfare Tutor and/or accessing 3, Elms Road
-It is up to the Guild of Students which welfare services you are able to access
-Due to insurance liability, we cannot offer therapeutic one-to-one Counselling to any student who is suspended – we can offer you an individual broader wellbeing session that can signpost you to alternative support and access to our workshops programme