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  • Writer's pictureThe Gaudie

Leaked report exposes failures in University investigation

AUSA and UCU “do not believe the investigatory process or report were full and impartial.”

By Matthew Keracher

Photo courtesy of The Gaudie

The University have not met their promise for a “full investigation” into the mis-management of the student occupation in March, which led to a clash between security staff and occupiers.

The Gaudie have exclusively obtained the confidential report given to the university court concerning the occupation, in which both UCU and AUSA representatives declare “that they do not believe the investigatory process or report were full and impartial,” and that “as members of the panel had not been able to gather sufficient evidence, their findings were inevitably interpretative.”

The Court's principal role is to oversee the management of the revenue, property and other resources of the University. It approves the mission and strategic vision of the University and has a number of corporate and legal responsibilities.

The report was promised as part of a “full investigation” by the University after the release of a video showing Angus Donaldson, Head of Estates and Facilities, ‘rugby-tackling’ into staff and students caught in a clash whilst some students tried to join the occupation through a door off Regent Walk.

The video has accrued over 33,000 views online, and received wide circulation in the press. Campus security can be seen trying to stop two students entering the building, which led to the clash caught on camera.

The Evening Telegraph reported at the time that the University had confirmed Angus Donaldson to be the man in the video and promised a “full” investigation.

The report notes “the outcomes of a short-life working group convened by the Principal [Ian Diamond] to identify the lessons learned arising from the recent student occupation of the University Office building.”

Court ruled to make the report confidential. Student President Lawson Ogubie, who represents the student body at the highest level of the University bureaucracy, told the Gaudie that “the Report to Court on Student Occupation was made confidential because of its controversial content. However, lessons from the incident have been drawn, especially ensuring that the welfare of students and staff are guaranteed during occupations.”

The report emphasises “a partnership approach,” involving the Health & Safety Committee, representatives of the campus Trades Unions and the Students’ Association, to identify the lessons which could be learned from the occupation. However, both AUSA and UCU disagreed with the process and findings of the investigation.

Rector Maggie Chapman stated after the incident in March through an ASL (Aberdeen Student Left) press release that, “I am very concerned about the behaviour of a senior member of university staff. Angus Donaldson, the Director of Estates and Facilities, appears to think he is on the rugby pitch, and is trying to clear students off an imaginary ball. This might be acceptable in a rugby game, but it is certainly not an acceptable way to treat students. Towards the end of the clip, he can be seen manhandling a student against a wall while she shouts ‘do not touch me’ at him. She is not resisting. She is not fighting back. She is not causing any disruption.

“I sincerely hope that the member of security staff who fell to the ground is alright. I also hope it is also clear to all who see the footage that he was not deliberately pushed to the ground by students. The University needs to take responsibility for this incident: they promised open access to the occupation. Caroline Inglis (University Secretary) and Mike Greaves (Senior Vice Principal) both signed a note to this effect. If they had kept their agreement and maintained open access to the occupation, none of what is seen in the footage would have happened.”

A University spokesperson also stated that: “During this incident, staff were overpowered and a member of security staff was injured when he was knocked to the ground and trampled on. The incident is of serious concern to us and we have launched a full investigation into the behaviours of everyone who was involved.”

The report highlights that Angus Donaldson “in particular had not received any training relevant to the circumstances which were presented to him during the incident which occurred on 14th March 2018.” It goes on to recommend “all members of the Estates Section management team,” including Donaldson, who is estimated to earn over £100,000 a year, “undertake appropriate training to support them in effectively managing future situations of a similar nature.”


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