It should be no surprise in these neoliberal times when universities have turned into corporations run by fat cats that they should start threatening their own students, but the treatment of Plymouth University’s student paper editor is still a shock, especially as the student union joined in. According to the Guardian, the student editor, Katie French, published an article that revealed planned cuts to student services. For this she was threatened with expulsion not long before she was due to graduate. One might expect the students union to defend her; instead it joined the attack, warning about ‘sensitive business reasons.’ Seems the neoliberal culture is infecting more than the bosses.
Universities now style themselves as businesses, not institutions of learning, defenders of free speech and culture. They are more worried about being ‘portrayed in a bad light’ than supporting their own students’ educational freedom. Several other universities engage in this kind of repression, including Kingston — no surprise there. Kingston, however, takes a more direct approach by ensuring no information gets out in the first place. So we can’t expect any exposés in The River. You’ll have to come here.