A member of University staff has voiced their concerns over the high level of security deployed at Heslington Hall during today’s protest.
In an email sent to Nouse, the member of the Development and Alumni Relations Office, who wishes to remain anonymous, criticised the treatment of people wishing to enter or exit the Hall during the protest.
“When I planned to pop out for my lunch, I was greeted by porters/security guards (with ear pieces) at every door. I usually leave the building through one of the back doors but was told by the porter that staff were not allowed in or out of the building through that door. Another member of staff hoping to stand outside to smoke was told he was not allowed,” they stated.
“I was not allowed to return to the main entrance through the side door nearest Derwent because, according to the porters at the door, I had no way of identifying myself as a member of staff – staff at York have no ID cards! Other people entering through those doors were questioned before being allowed in. Evidently students would not be allowed in the building. I was told I had to walk around the building back to the main entrance to get back to my office,” the member of staff continued.
“I’m really concerned about the treatment visitors to the university may have had during this time. Imagine how a prospective student or a donor to the university might have felt upon being questioned by a security guard at the front door of the ‘main’ university building! And I’m concerned that, given how non-accessible Heslington Hall is anyway, disabled visitors, staff or
students may have found it difficult to get in or out of the building during that time if they all had to enter through the front door,” they added.
The member of staff admitted that they may have “looked too much like a student,” to have been granted access immediately. They added that they were intending to lodge an official complaint against the University.
During the protest, which was attended by around 50 students campaigning for an October opening of the new YUSU Langwith bar, many protesters remarked on the presence of porters on all the Hall’s entrances.