Goldsmiths students sabotage new building launch

Goldsmiths students today chose the formal opening ceremony for the college's new digital media centre to protest against changes to university funding.


Anger was directed toward former Conservative Party Chief Executive and current ITV chairman Archie Norman, who was invited to open the building.

East London Lines reports:

The college authorities attempted to go ahead with speeches in the staff dining room, but scores of protestors burst in as Norman began to speak, blowing horns and chanting. Most of the dozens of bottles of the wine put out for guests instantly disappeared as the event ended in chaos.

The disruption cast a shadow over the opening of the New Academic Building (NAB), the biggest investment on the Goldsmiths campus for many years and which houses the university’s Media and Communications department.

51 comments:

Nylon Cube said...

okay I'll say it then:

That's so Goldsmiths.

Anonymous said...

Much frowning when they nicked all the wine

Sue said...

Clearly they wanted Archie Norman to know that there 'ASDA' be a better way to fund higher education than tripling tuition fees?

(Sorry, groan, I know).

Well done Goldsmiths students, keep up the good work :)

Anonymous said...

For students of Goldsmith freedom of speech is ok as long as it's their speech.

I'd cut any fuding to the uneducated planks who caused disrupttion...we've had the X Generation now we have the mememe generation.

Having been mixing with students up and down the country....I haven't noticed any under nurished and they seem able to fund ample supplies of vodka (or is it nicked?) and afford some white based powdery make-up they shove up their noses.

Anonymous said...

The students I teach at Goldsmiths are lovely, on the whole - committed, hard-working and worried sick about their future

Howson Road said...

As a Goldsmiths student, I am disgusted by this 'protest'...what was it for? Why did it happen? These fools do not represent the student body.

Goldnik said...

Amen to that. There's a core of radicals in our union who take an absolute delight in behaving atrociously in the name of their minority agenda. They would be laughable if they weren't so successful in hijacking the agenda at college and, indeed, sometimes further afield.

Anonymous said...

That's a fairly reactionary comment Goldnik. The majority of Goldsmiths students I engage with regularly are very much in favour of attacking the marketisation of education. The student body were largely represented (several hundred protesters after all) and all in all behaved very well. Next time actually be informed before banal and ignorant commentary, thanks.

Anonymous said...

The last protest I witnessed by Goldsmiths student had many with expensive cameras slung round their necks, they are milking the system for all its worth and will probably end up living off taxpayers as public service managers or politicians.

drakefell debaser said...

From the main article:

Hugh Jones, Goldsmiths registrar and secretary, said “you’ve got to keep it in perspective. It’s very Goldsmiths”

Is stealing stuff very Goldsmiths too?

Protest by all means, but try and keep the moral high ground while you do it.

Anonymous said...

Let's look at the democratic voting at Goldsmith at their last elections of 8,000 students about 1,000 voted.

Here comes the shocker, not one candidate got 50% of those 1,000 votes.

System at Goldsmith is open to abuse and those 'politically' motivated will use their extremely minority position to impose their 'democratic' will on the vast majority.

Humphrey said...

I was there. Managed to get two bottles of red. (Tee-hee!)

Anonymous said...

@Anon

"That's a fairly reactionary comment Goldnik."

What pithful.

The figures for elections show Goldnik is talking common sense.

You have a bunch of arrogant ideoligsts taking action claiming the high moral ground and the greater good to impose their idealogical ideas on the vast majority.

The only thing some of those students are fearful of is where they are are going to score their next drugs.

Humphrey said...

Crumbs! Just seen myself on youtube! Managed to include myself for freebie drinkies - and then the bloody student rabble emerged. Quick exit left before cover blown. Huge phews on that one as Old Bill entered asking for ID.

Anonymous said...

Wonder how many of these student extremists progress to join the Socialist party... 'burn the bankers...no to profits...yay for communism' etc...

Tamsin said...

They are just enjoying the sensation of protesting. Speaking just now to someone who was at the "Rally for an Alternative - For jobs, growth, justice" meeting also in Goldsmiths yesterday evening organised by the Lewisham Trades Union council with support of the Goldsmiths Studen Union. This was disrupted by an influx of these rowdies, some of them already clearly drunk on their stolen wine. Shouting down speakers who are basically in the same political camp as you are and throwing eggs at the General Secretary of the TUC narrowly missing a lady in her eighties who had been speaking on the same platform is not the way to win any credibility for your cause.

And it was undoubtedly some underpaid agency cleaner who had to deal with the mess.

Sue Donim said...

It's like buying someone a cheaper present than last year because you can't afford much and having the recipient p*ss in your face.

Disgusted from Brockley.

Anonymous said...

Video of Goldsmiths students and future Brockley residents here... infact is this starring Brockley Nick?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKFjWR7X5dU

Goldsmiths graduate said...

That's a nice way to say thanks to the college for a new building with top facilities. They should be barred from ever using the building.

As an aside, re: Sue's comment ("Well done Goldsmiths students, keep up the good work") above, the Greens' support of these student hooligans has totally put me off joining the Green party locally which is a shame because I genuinely support most of the other things they campaign on. I can't support a party that supports people like these idiot students.

Tamsin said...

And some of the hooligans are all mouth with no actual work for their alleged cause. One of the people at the Rally for an Alternative meeting was a retired mid-wife and active health issues campaigner and she recognised one harpies screaming and shouting as a student union representative she knew from a while back who, she recalled, was absolutely useless in the role, not being bothered to represent anyone. It is easy to shout and protest - difficult to negotiate or raise wider public awareness for a change of policy.

Anonymous said...

To be fair a solid grounding in reality has never been part of the Green manifesto.

Anonymous said...

bizarre; this building has been open for months. That's so ****ing Goldsmiths, doing things last minute.

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

All of this comes down to simple arithmetic.

Increase the student population from less than 10% (as it was in my day 30 years ago) to over 50% and education is bound to cost considerably more.

I don't understand where all these demostrating students think the money is going to come from. Either they use the loans on offer or pay 50% income tax in the future to service consequential government debts.

The loans seem the better option to me.

Anonymous said...

This blog gets more conservative every day. Why shouldn't students be outraged that Goldsmiths prioritizes a glossy new building that looks great in our promo materials over, for instance, paying decent wages to the hoards of part-time visiting tutors that handle most of the contact time with students?

This was a gesture expressing discontent on a number of different issues, not the least of which is the radical restructuring of the higher education sector such that university education is no longer seen as a public good, but a service paid for, kind of like a nice haircut that will make you look good for your job interview.

I've been scratching my head for awhile now as to why this blog hasn't addressed what the impact for Brockley / New Cross will be should Goldsmiths significantly downsize and/or close due to the new HE funding (or lack thereof) policy. Or am I missing something? It isn't just the Brockley Society that supports local businesses.

Anonymous said...

This blog is about as conservative as Swampy

Tamsin said...

Back to the over-inflated value placed on a degree - any degree. To the detriment of service provision and productivity.
Someone who has been working in childcare for nearly fifteen years and managing a nursery with great success for the past four has to take time out to go to college, rack up her blood pressure by listening to theoretical spoutings week by week and get an appropriate degree qualification in management otherwise she is not allowed by government regulation to stay in her current job.

Anonymous said...

@ Tamsin - Ok if you don't need a degree, but then do you need GSCEs either? Or any formal education at all besides invaluable on the job training and experience?

No doubt you're brilliant at what you do in a very admirable profession, but a university education isn't necessarily about vocation. It's rotten that you've gotten snared in some over-management bureaucratic nonsense, but that doesn't make higher ed or 'degrees' bad, perhaps 'misvalued' rather than 'overvalued'.

Goldsmiths graduate said...

Anon 14:17 - because the international students from Korea and China couldn't care less about the visiting tutors' wages but they care about the facilities offered, and the college needs them to come to Goldsmiths and pay high fees!

There is actually so much competition to get a job as a visiting tutor (most are current PhD students at Goldsmiths themselves) that there isn't much incentive to put their wages up anyway.

The students staging these protests just like to protest and wreck things. Stealing wine?! Come on now.

Tamsin said...

And throwing eggs at trade union leaders and elderly ladies.

All fairly shameful and gives genuine protest and concern a bad name.

Margot said...

Were the eggs free range?

Tamsin said...

lol

Given that they were outside Brockley - probably not.

If they were, even more proof that students are not short of funds.

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon 1417

"I've been scratching my head for awhile now as to why this blog hasn't addressed what the impact for Brockley / New Cross will be should Goldsmiths significantly downsize and/or close due to the new HE funding (or lack thereof) policy."

That has been discussed before (when higher education policy was announced) and you are right, Goldsmiths is vital to the local economy and cultural life. As an institution, it doesn't play as active a role in the community as we might like, but the students and alumni make an amazing contribution to the area.

However, I think it remains to be seen whether the changes will have a major impact upon Goldsmiths' success.

The "marketisation" of University education means that good colleges should continue to do well. Goldsmiths is a good college with a great list of alumni.

The idea that all the people who might have chosen to go to Goldsmiths to study art are suddenly going to switch to engineering at Imperial seems incredible to me.

What matters most in the grad jobs market is having a good degree of any sort - your best chance of getting a good degree is to do something you're passionate about and have a natural aptitude for and going to a place with good tutors and ambitious peers. Goldsmiths has both of those.

Fashion, design, etc are big industries that demand talented grads and entrepreneurs. A good degree from Goldsmiths ought to be valuable in a "marketised" (ie: demand driven) system.

Lou Baker said...

Goldsmiths really isn't vital to the local economy at all.

If it downsizes a few pubs and restaurants may suffer and some local landlords might struggle for a while.

Otherwise the impact of this lefty haven is minimal.

We really shouldn't pay much attention to these attention seeking morons masquerading as students.

Most of them will end up with a rubbish degree anyway as they seem to spend more time protesting than studying.

Anonymous said...

I wish you'd spend more time studying the London Overground rather than protesting about it

Mb said...

Heh, Lou you're such an iconoclast. The way you let the air out of those comfortable assumptions is positively Clarksonest its brilliance.

Howson Road said...

I have walked around New Cross at non-term times, especially a week after the start of the Xmas break - when Goldsmiths is shut, New Cross is a deadzone. As a student, a local shopkeeper asked me in a worried tone, why I was still there. It was like a zombie outbreak had swept the area. Without Goldsmiths, New Cross would be dead.

Anonymous said...

what do they expect inviting a Tory!!!

Tressilliana said...

I don't think Goldsmith's does accountancy and management degrees, or this would be even more worrying. Universities get money from the government for capital work which is only available for that purpose. Bidding for that money will have been done years ago, probably before the 2008 crisis. This is how it is all over the public sector. Funding for staff wages comes out of a different pot. What the government is saying is that the pot that pays for teaching is now not going to be re-filled except for science, maths, engineering, medicine and a few other areas, ie those that are expensive to run but vital to the economy/society. Even then the government grant will only be meant to pay for the equipment etc, not the staff costs. The students will be expected to pay enough to meet those costs.

There's another worrying development in university finance that hasn't received much publicity as far as I know. HEFCE (the Higher Education Funding Council for England) has just announced that it will make its research funding grants to universities based only on 3* and 4* research, as defined by the last Research Assessment Exercise, not 2* or 1*. Translated into English, that means universities will only get money to go on doing research if they already have top notch researchers on the books (or had two or three years ago). If they had relatively few of those at the time of the RAE but were building up to it by employing promising younger researchers who haven't yet got all that many prestigious articles published, but are on track to do so in a few years, tough. Unless they can find some private money to fund their research, the universities will struggle to maintain their current research staffing levels.

This is madness. Universities bring huge amounts of money into the UK economy by attracting overseas students and by providing the research basis for all sorts of other sectors. The last government and this one are keen to cut back on international student visas for young people coming to the UK to study English, because they are sometimes abused. These young people very often go on to study at UK universities because they've got used to the UK during that earlier period of study and their colleges can advise them where to apply. If they can't get here to improve their English to university entry level, they'll go to the US or Australia or Canada instead. And bang goes the overseas fee income that's keeping a lot of universities afloat and enabling them to go on teaching UK students and doing research.

Give Over said...

what do they expect inviting a Tory!!!

Oh, that makes it OK to steal and hurl eggs at the elderly then...

Sue said...

@Give Over - I think you are conflating 2 different protests there, aren't you? Some students were protesting at the building launch with Archie Norman and others, possibly including students later that evening, were at a meeting with TUC leader Brendan Barber.

From what Nick wrote, I understood that the Archie Norman protest was peaceful - or was that not the case? I believe the egg throwing etc (which personally I wouldn't support) took place at the evening meeting, and given it was advertised as a public meeting, I wouldn't automatically assume it was students that did it.

@drakefelldebaser I tend to agree with your point about keeping the moral high ground, though the video footage I saw suggests the protestors helped themselves to a glass of wine, rather than swiped bottles, as someone said, so perhaps not such a heinous crime in the big scheme of things.

@GoldsmithsGraduate My support for protests is limited to peaceful protests and when I comment on here, I'm doing so as a local resident, not on behalf of the Green Party, so please don't let the occasional flippant comment by me put you off the party!

Tamsin said...

The rowdy students disrupting the invited speaker and stealing bottles of wine were at the ceremony opening the building. (See Nick's opening post.)

Later, having moved on or been moved on from there - and, it seems, having drunk the wine they went on to barrack and make a nuisance of themselves at the meeting called by the Goldsmiths Students Union and the Lewisham Trades Union Council to protest at cuts. This is where the egg throwing took place. The lady concerned was not at all fazed by it, by the way, just despairing of the general stupidity and disrespect among young people that it showed.

born n'bred said...

Goldsmiths and the other London Uni students that live around here would be sorely missed. The influx of young people from all over the UK and overseas every year keeps the area vibrant.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if the students are really that important to the local economy.

It is not impoverished students quaffing vino and gorging high on the hog in the local eateries. Brockley depends rather more on City salaries and the large number of people who work for public services of one sort or another.

Are all the students going to disappear once the fees are put up? I doubt it. They may be saddled with debt for the rest of their lives but while a degree is still perceived as the path to a gainful employment student numbers are unlikely to dry up anytime soon.

Tressilliana said...

Lots of Goldsmiths students live locally and use local shops and other services, thus creating employment. Many Goldsmiths graduates stay in the area once they start working because it's affordable. I was quite struck once my children were at school how many other parents I was meeting had been to Goldsmiths.

[Anal, pedantic note: I see from the college's website that it is calling itself 'Goldsmiths'. Dropping the word College is presumably a sign that like Queen Mary it is preparing for the dissolution of London University, surely not that far off now, and planning to call itself Goldsmiths University. Rather a shame that at the same time it has abandoned its apostrophe. However, Goldsmiths' College was named in the distant past when apostrophes were not seen as an optional extra, which is the way they seem to be heading now.]

Goldsmiths graduate said...

The name has been "Goldsmiths, University of London" for at least 3-4 years now. I don't think it has anything to do with leaving U of L at all. If I remember correctly, the name changed around the re-branding of the logo, mission statement and all publicity materials a few years ago.

And the apostrophe doesn't really belong to the name as it is a name, and nothing to do with goldsmiths...

Anonymous said...

How come someone connected with the greens support student protestors who seem to churn out an endless stream of flyers and posters on wooden poles which are discarded at the end of each meeting?

Mb said...

That last point may just be the one that brings down the green party! I hear they bathe in crude oil and eat coal. The charlatans

pedant said...

@Goldsmiths graduate

If it is named after a person the name is Goldsmith, not Goldsmiths, so it would still need an apostrophe, but it would be placed before the 's' rather than after it.

Tamsin said...

I suspect that the Livery Company still take some sort of proprietorial interest. The Haberdashers certainly do in the background of the school and the parish and Telegraph Hill.

Anonymous said...

Passed the Civic Suite today at 11:15am..

Crash barriers: 20
Protestors: 0

Anonymous said...

Local NUT waller Martin-Powell-Davies's detailed account of the second student conflict at Goldmiths only refers to 'frustraion'...strange but true.

http://electmartin1.blogspot.com/2011/02/frustration-shows-at-trades-council.html

He's apparently a teacher. Is it correct he gets paid by the council not to teach?

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