Updated: Oct 5, 2020
Hypocrisy at its Finest
By Jack Goff
Credit to Alan Findlay
Those of us with half a brain knew that a virus outbreak at University halls was inevitable. Lots of people moving from all over the world into tiny, shared and, let’s be honest, poorly cleaned living areas.
What was a surprise was how aggressively the university responded: an email sent to all students threatened fines, expulsions and removal from halls and private flats should students dare to set foot outside their own front door. There was no attempt made to reassure those who are self-isolating that they will be taken care of, despite previous insistence that students ought to try to come to campus.
Mental health be damned. The message was clear: shut up and shut in.
Now, the hypocrisy becomes even more breath taking. In an email sent to students it seems that the University of Aberdeen has its own Dominic Cummings. Vice Chancellor George Boyne broke lockdown restrictions by travelling to Wales.
He wasn’t just popping down to Dundee for an important and unavoidable errand, oh no, he went all the way to Wales. Not just Wales, but South Wales. George Boyne told students to not leave their flats and then travelled 400 miles. Oh, and he himself admits to having ‘reduced immunity.’
From the moment this pandemic started people have been calling it the great equalizer. This is the final proof that it damn well isn’t. Boyne and his privileged brethren have been commanding those they see as beneath them to stick to restrictions as they break them free of consequence. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that South Wales police have decided not to take action against Boyne.
Students this year have been screwed time and time again. First the results fiasco with freshers’ futures in the balance. Finally, with prospects restored, they came to University excited for the experiences promised and reassured that they would be taught on campus. Then the outbreaks started. Classes are on zoom with staff blatantly not equipped to teach through this medium with students abandoned in their accommodation.
But this action from Boyne is perhaps the worst of them all. The most insidious of all of the slights to student’s basic humanity.
Because in breaking restrictions, Boyne has told the student body that they don’t matter. That we don’t matter. That our physical and mental wellbeing, our desires, our needs don’t matter. He has proven that senior management at the University of Aberdeen, and undoubtedly across all universities, don’t care about their students. So long as he makes his money, so long as he gets his nine grand from each and every one of us, he doesn’t give a damn what happens to students.
If he did, he never would have threatened us, never would have broken restrictions and would have offered a concerned hand to those who are struggling in these apocalyptic times.
What is most shocking about these latest revelations is just how unshocking they are. How unsurprising it is that Boyne has mocked students in this way.