Security measures were over the top

From Dr David Drew

Psalter Lane, Sheffield S11

A meeeting of Sheffield University students was held last week in the Hicks Building to discuss opposition to raising student fees to £9,000 a year.

This would produce a huge debt burden on students and make it prohibitively expensive for poorer students to get degrees, given all the other problems they face.

Having come from a deprived background and having obtained three degrees and worked in academia and the Civil Service, I fully support the students.

The meeting of students was well organised and the arguments articulate. What surprised me was that outside the meeting and within the building there were university security officials and police for the whole duration (two hours) of the discussions. This was very intimidating. Is protest illegal? Who invited the police into the building? Did the university call them in? And what were they expecting the students to do?

Unless there is some harmless explanation I think the Vice-Chancellor of the university (of which I am a graduate) should answer. Otherwise we might come to the conclusion that the university, along with other things in England at present, is becoming very illiberal indeed.