Mar 042011

By Gordon Maloney.

On Monday of this week students at Aberdeen University served an ‘eviction notice’ on Principal Ian Diamond who has been living rent-free in Chanonry Lodge for the last eight months. One of the organisers said  that the mock eviction was an attempt to bring home the harsh reality of economics for ordinary students.

The protest was organised by Aberdeen University Students’ Association in response to an e-mail leaked to the Glasgow Herald from Universities Scotland in which plans for tuition fees of more than £3000 a year were discussed.

Megan Dunn, one of demonstrators told Aberdeen Voice:

“What we are saying is that Higher Education should be accessible to anyone regardless of their ability to pay. A market in Education will only put people off applying to University, making it an exclusive commodity for the richest people in society.”

After the main rally, a group of students from the Aberdeen Defend Education Campaign marched to the Principal’s house on Chanonry Lodge, where, it was revealed earlier this month, he has lived rent-free for the last eight months. The students, calling themselves “the Big Society Bailiffs,” delivered a mock eviction letter calling on the Principal to give the money he would have paid in rent and council tax to the University’s Student Hardship.

At a meeting of the Students’ Association council later that day, motions were passed formally supporting the demands made by the demonstrators.

Speaking afterwards, one of the organisers spoke of the sense of outrage that students felt:

“The principal is completely out of touch with reality. At a time when students are being forced to drop out because they can’t afford to pay their rent, it is sickening to see people like Ian Diamond awarding such inflated salaries and benefits.”