Editorial Michaelmas 2011 Week 9

29 November 2011

David Willetts is absolutely wrong. His proposals for higher education will damage the prospects of a generation and undermine the entire purpose of this country’s universities making education, education, education about employment, employment, employment.

Unfortunately, two wrongs do not make a right and in pushing him from the stage at Lady Mitchell Hall, Cambridge Defend Education were definitely wrong. They were wrong not simply for denying Willetts the freedom to put his argument across but, more significantly, for denying his numerous opponents the chance to ask the hard questions we all ought to be asking. All this while making him, this man who would destroy higher education, appear the victim. This is wrong.

And now they sit in occupation, tucked away on the Sidgwick Site and bereft of all the support and goodwill which made last year’s occupation of the University Combination Room such a success.

Although we may agree with their aims and their criticism of Willetts and his policy, TCS cannot lend its support to this occupation. The government’s disastrous policy must be opposed and it must be stopped, but given the manner in which this occupation came about, it cannot be supported.

The occupiers claim that ‘we welcome anyone and everyone to come and debate’. Clearly, given their treatment of Willetts, this is not true. But it should have been. We must not allow these opponents of education to look like victims, nor must we replace intelligent points made by students with the overblown absurdity of “Go home David, and learn your gods anew” – the message which appeared in their ‘epistle’ to Willetts. Students are smarter than this.

What with this being the final issue of TCS this term, all that remains to be said is to wish everyone a very enjoyable vacation, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

TCS will be back in 2012 under new editors, Judith Welikala and Alice Gormley. We wish them the very best for their editorship.