Warwick University's vice chancellor appears to have been recorded saying his students were yobs, following a summit addressing police presence on campus.
Nigel Thrift had been speaking on a panel last Thursday, along with members of university management, the student union president, police representatives and members of the Warwick For Free Education (WFFE) protest group.
Evidently unbeknown to the chancellor, the microphones had not been switched off, and when he was heckled by other students, he seemed to mutter: "This shows you what we’re dealing with. These are just yobs."
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A spokesperson from Warwick told HuffPost UK: "In the weeks leading up to the recent Summit, the Vice-Chancellor has been targeted personally and directly, both in work and at home, with an escalating series of intimidatory acts including being spat at, being confronted and shouted at aggressively by multiple people very close to his face, and being verbally abused late at night near his home when his family were in residence.
"A reference to him being killed was also uploaded onto a public website.
"These acts, some of which clearly go outside of the law, are far beyond what is reasonable for any individual, however senior, to be expected to take.
"The Vice-Chancellor’s brief verbal response to these acts at the end of the summit was a very human one, not least given the indications from at least one student member that their previous actions would continue unaffected by the discussions at the summit."
A statement from WFFE read: "Nigel’s comments are symptomatic of the lack of regard shown toward students, increasingly conceived of as nothing more than passive consumers.
"It seems that objecting to being CS gassed and threatened with tasers makes us 'yobs'."
Oh that's nice. Vice-chancellor of my old university, Nigel Thrift, forgets he's miked up and calls students "yobs" https://t.co/g8ZmIudV8U— Dawn Foster (@DawnHFoster) March 17, 2015
Last December, students across the country staged occupations and protests after police were accused of using "extreme, disproportionate" violence to break up a sit-in at Warwick.
Warwick students said they were "punched, pushed onto the floor, dragged, rammed by their throat and kneed in the face". Several also claim they were subjected to CS spray.