‘When are you going to resign?’ Students interrogate Sir David Eastwood at the VC Question Time
Students were not pleased
University of Birmingham Vice Chancellor Professor Sir David Eastwood faced a grilling from students at the Vice Chancellor Question Time on Thursday night.
Eastwood was quizzed on a number of topics ranging from a lack of study spaces on campus and the shortage of funding for the Guild.
Sir Eastwood's eye watering £426,000 annual income was also discussed to which the VC replied: “I am a significant contributor to this university philanthropically, I am a significant contributor to higher education philanthropically, and I am a significant contributor to other education charities philanthropically. I hope that sets some kind of example.”
At one stage an audience member asked Mr Eastwood when he was going to resign, after accusing him of misleading the university council about a conflict of interests.
Sir Eastwood is a director of the private company INTO University Partnerships which supports competitor universities with recruitment.
INTO University Partnerships is valued in the hundreds of millions and even owns a private plane.
Eastwood denied that there was any conflict of interests and insisted that his experience working at INTO was beneficial to his position as Vice Chancellor.
The University's new Dubai campus came under close scrutiny from students, who questioned whether it was appropriate to invest in a country with such a poor human rights record.
Eastwood has no answers as to what the uni will actually do to protect students in Dubai?? How is this okay or safe?? #VCQT
— Them Fatale. (@MinistryOfQueer) January 25, 2018
Eastwood was also pressed on how the basic rights of female and LGBT students in particular would be upheld. He claimed that the LGBT rights charity, Stonewall, had supported the development of the new campus.
Asked about the long waiting list faced by students seeking mental health counselling, Sir Eastwood remarked that it was still shorter than any NHS waiting list.
Some students were frustrated with the VC's answers and felt that he had continually dodged questions throughout.
Did he actually answer a single question? #VCQT
— Roland Brandstaetter (@clockwiseRB) January 25, 2018
The University College Union and Socialist Students handed out leaflets outside the Guild.
Afer two hours of questions and answers, Eastwood still didn't manage to satisfy students.