Thrift outed as calling protesters ‘yobs’ as uni claims he was spat at
He left his microphone on
Chiselled Nigel Thrift has landed himself in hot water after being caught on video calling student protesters “yobs”.
However the University have revealed he’s come under a tirade of abuse from students who have targeted his home and have even spat at him and confronted him outside his home.
Thrift’s comments were made at the close of an event organised by the University’s own Centre for Human Rights in Practice, the Warwick Summit on Protest.
The intention behind the summit was to bring together conflicting parties following the uproar caused in the Warwick for Free Education protests in December, where peacefully protesting students were allegedly intimidated and gassed by police.
As the event unfurled however, fresh protests broke out from the student body.
On footage released by the Warwick for Free Education activist group, protesters at the summit can be heard chanting “348k, Nigel Thrift go away” led by a megaphone, in relation to the Vice Chancellors salary.
During this footage however, Thrift is heard using a microphone saying “This shows you what we’re dealing with – these are just yobs.”
Alice, who wishes for her last name to remain anonymous, a second year creative writing student at the University and member of Warwick for Free Education, has spoken out following the comment made by the Vice Chancellor.
She said: “It really summarises for me how everything has to be on the management’s terms.
“Not only do we have to heed to his standard in order to be invited to one of his ‘dinners’ that he loves to hark on about, but then we have to also live up to a standard of maturity that he dictates before we can be viewed as real adults worth listening to.”
She added: “It’s also worth noting the total disregard for the power Thrift and co hold – they had the privilege of remaining calm as this is not an issue that directly affects them, neither they nor any of their friends were beaten and traumatised (in the peaceful December free education protests).
“We, on the other hand, have been gifted no such platform to express our anger at the injustice the university has dealt us and so to dismiss us as ‘yobs’, because we couldn’t hide our emotion and contempt for him, is, again, a total disregard for the imbalance of power between the student body and management.”
The university too were equally keen to respond to the situation, relaying the difficult situation that Thrift himself has been put in.
Spokesperson Peter Dunn said Thrift had been subjected to aggressive verbal attacks outside his home and in the presence of his family. He added some protesters had even spat at the Vice Chancellor.
The University’s Director of Press and Policy, Peter Dunn said: “Some might argue that it is to be expected that the head of an organisation should take whatever is said to them and about them, at least when there are issues of disagreement, upset and general distress.
“However, 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.”
With these extenuating circumstances underlined the University spokesman stated, “The Vice-Chancellor’s brief verbal response to these acts at the end of the summit was a very human one.”
Despite the heated interchanges between the university and students over the preceding months the Director of Press and Policy underlined the Universities continued stance in relation to student protests.
He said: “As university colleagues indicated during this event, we will work with others to continue to ensure that peaceful protest and demonstration are able to be facilitated on campus by responding to the suggestions that were made in response to the survey and at the Summit.”
The University though remain firm regarding the personal attacks that Nigel Thrift has been subjected to as Dunn said, “Campaigns of targeted intimidation, which also affect many more people than the person directly targeted, should never be seen – and will never be seen – as acceptable.”
Another spokesman for Warwick for Free Education was quoted in the Coventry Observer rebutting the Universities claims that Thrift had been subject to personal attacks. They said that filming videos of themselves asking the Vice Chancellor ‘jokey questions’ should not be misinterpreted as an act of violence.
The spokesperson said: “In truth it is us who have been attacked with tasers and CS gas, us who were threatened with unlimited legal costs via an injunction, us who were arrested and given prohibitive bail conditions, us who have been systematically denied a voice, and us who carry the burden of £44,000 debts.”