HC Deb 25 October 1972 vol 843 cc1175-7
14. Sir J. Gilmour

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether, as a result of the inquiry into events at Stirling University, he has been able to establish how many students from other universities than Stirling were present in the university buildings during the disturbances and to what extent they were responsible for the disorder which occurred; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Gordon Campbell

It is not at present clear what part, if any, was played by students from other universities. The university authorities and the police are however still pursuing their inquiries into this most unfortunate episode.

Sir J. Gilmour

Does not that answer imply that unless strict and just disciplinary action is taken against the students responsible for this behaviour, the university will acquire a reputation from which it will never recover?

Mr. Campbell

It is for the university authorities to consider whether any of their students should be dealt with under their code of discipline. I am sure that the whole House deplores this incident.

Mr. Douglas

I agree with the Secretary of State that the whole House will deplore this incident. It was unpardonable behaviour towards a guest. However, do not we have to be extremely careful not to prejudice the careers of a great many students in the university who are anxious to get on with their studies and not to impute bad relations between them and members of the staff of the university who are also anxious to preserve academic freedom and progress?

Mr. Campbell

I am sure that the university authorities will bear this in mind. My information is that it was a minority who caused the trouble.

17. Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the cost to public funds of security arrangements for Her Majesty's recent visit to Stirling University.

Mr. Gordon Campbell

I understand that the additional costs incurred by the Stirling and Clackmannan Constabulary were about £600.

Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

I thank my right hon. Friend for that information, but would he not agree that if the mass of our constituents are to be reassured that the contribution they are required to make through rates and taxes to pay for the enjoyment by students of the privilege of university education is justified, they will need to be assured that those who were directly implicated in that disgraceful affair are no longer a charge on the education budget, otherwise there is surely a real danger that the vast majority of hard-working students will suffer for the misdemeanours of a very small minority?

Mr. Campbell

I certainly agree that the vast majority should not be allowed to suffer because of the bad behaviour of a small minority, and I dealt with this in a previous answer. I would like to take this opportunity of saying that I consider that the chief constable and the police are to be commended for the extremely good way in which they dealt with this delicate situation.

Mr. Dalyell

Is the Secretary of State really agreeing with the rest of what his hon. Friend the Member for South Angus (Mr. Bruce-Gardyne) said?

Mr. Campbell

No. I noted what my hon. Friend said. His main point was whether the majority should be allowed to suffer because of the minority, and, as I said in reply to an earlier Question, discipline is a matter for the university authorities, who are considering this. I could not myself withdraw the grants to students without a recommendation from the university authorities.