The most awkward moments from today’s open meeting with Cardiff University’s VC Colin Riordan
Lecturers received a warning about heckling
Earlier today, the Bingo Room in Cathays Community Centre reached capacity, as 200 angry lecturers gathered in pursuit of answers from VC, Colin Riordan, amid the ongoing 'pension tension.'
Kicking off at midday, the pre-arranged questions began to flow. We were at the scene as the drama unfolded. Here are a few of the most awkward moments from the hour.
History student, Samuel Veal, asked the VC why he hadn't yet responded to his 6000 signature petition calling for Cardiff University to compensate students
Colin was quick to respond.
'I'm sorry it's taken so long. Let me just start by saying that I do understand the impact this is having. None of us want to be sitting in this hall having this conversation.'
A spate of vague rambling ensued, until the Vice-Chancellor was gently reminded by the panel that the question referred to a specific response to Sam.
'We have prepared a reply which I think will be going out today.'
When further probed on the content of this reply, the VC was unable to give any solid answer, stating: "I think it'll be along the lines of – we will be doing everything we can."
That doesn't sound very 'prepared' to me, Colin.
Riordan admitted he wasn't replying to any student emails personally
"I'm not replying to student emails. There are too many of them. I think 174."
Those pesky students! It's not as though tuition fees are £9000 annually or anything….
Riordan did, however, assure staff that although he couldn't be bothered to deal with students' emails, he was personally replying to theirs. This may have been due to there being a sea of enraged staff sat before him.
Lecturers received a warning about heckling from the panel just 20 minutes in
Tutting, sighing and cries of "WHY?" resonated from the right-hand side of the hall. A subsequent warning went out to all in attendance, that such behaviour would NOT be tolerated, as the VC had been assured beforehand by organisers that he wouldn't be 'heckled.'
Dr Andy Williams from the school of Journalism, Media and Culture had a L'Oreal moment.: "If you're worth it… Why aren't we?"
Williams quizzed Riordan about his salary, which has risen substantially in recent years. He continued to describe that as it states on the university website that pay is linked to performance, finishing with the poignant question, "If you're worth it, why aren't we?"
Colin responded, "I'm in the USS as well." This was met with outrage. Awkward.
Finally, Riordan admitted, 'I'm not an expert on this.'
Yeah, we know.
What an utter shambles.