Aberdeen University occupation: students vindicated

Following the incident that occurred last Tuesday at University of Aberdeen during student occupation  in solidarity with academics involved in the University College Union (UCU) pension dispute, a footage clearly showing that the University’s allegations of student violence are unfunded.

[Content warning: this video contains physical aggression]

In the video, Angus Donaldson, Director of Estates and Facilities at the University of Aberdeen,  can be seen charging headfirst into a crowd of students and security staff, ramming students against the fire door they were being told to move away from. He is also seen manhandling a female student who responds by objecting loudly at being moved in such a violent manner by a member of Senior Management.

Stundent members of the occupation stated:

As Director of Estates and Facilities, we believe that Angus Donaldson is ultimately responsible for any inappropriate conduct by members of the University security team. He is paid an annual salary of £115,000 to fulfill his Senior Management duties as Director of Estates and Facilities. We repeat and reaffirm our previously stated belief that Angus Donaldson has egregiously failed to hold his security team to any standard of proper health and safety practice and has repeatedly put Aberdeen University students in potential harm. Rather than acting to ensure the safety and wellbeing of staff and students, Donaldson has behaved in a physically aggressive and escalatory manner.

We again repeat that this violent behaviour displayed by a member of Senior Management has been in stark contrast to day-to-day engagements with ordinary security staff members, who have broadly been amicable and professional in their dealings with us. In reference to the specific incident in which a security staff member fell to the ground, this occurred in the midst of the jostling and competition for space by security staff and demonstrators, as can be seen in video footage. No student pushed anyone to the ground. As soon as students realised someone had fallen, they stepped away, and protesters can be seen trying to help the individual. The footage clearly shows that everyone made sure to step away from the individual on the floor, and that that individual was helped to stand up.

Police were called to the occupation by a member of UCU staff on strike who was participating in the demonstration outside. The member in question was concerned for the safety and wellbeing of students in the occupation. The police spoke to us and reassured us that they were indeed called to the scene in order to check on our own welfare.

Student occupations in solidarity with striking lecturers continue across the UK.


Source and photo: Aberdeen Students Support the Strike