This is the complete statement:
The Principal of South College insulted, humiliated and abused the College’s student members. Tim Luckhurst, a former editor for a national newspaper knew exactly what was happening when he took over a Christmas party. His friend then began to spread vile propaganda which he knew would create division.
His shameful effort to justify this act of pantomime while pretending that it was for students’ education is disgraceful. As Principal of South College, he has not fulfilled his duties as well as as leader within our University community.
Your friend inviting you to shock and provoke students in your own home is an offense against their community.
Students from ‘South were celebrating Christmas with their families when their principal compromised their enjoyment by prioritising his political agenda above theirs.
“Attempts to portray this act as an education strike are insulting to all students and academics at Durham. This is pure hazing. Luckhurst was aware that this would cause those who refuse to submit to his theatre-style bullying to rise up and confront him.
“We stand with our students who used their freedom to speak out and left this pathetic excuse for an education. We also thank the many Durham academics, as well as others, for exposing this attempt at corroding their professional reputation.
It is dishonest for those who are fighting academic freedom threats around the globe to see the Principal attempt to justify his calculated behavior within freedom speech discourse.
“We are going to challenge the Acting Vice-Chancellor as to how it is possible for a Principal, who took it upon himself, to destroy a Christmas party, because their ‘right’ was to educate students, more than their right of enjoying their meal with their friends in their own home. South College deserves a full apology.
“We have to acknowledge that the wife of the principal was at the very least inappropriate, and sometimes even antagonistic. Our community expects guests to be respectful. The Colleges aren’t places for bullying children; instead, they are communities of learning. Respect is essential in order to learn.
“We’ve read much about the principal’s rights over the weekend. His responsibilities have not been acknowledged. Therefore, we ask for our community to not be distracted by his conduct but instead focus on the expectations we should have of College principals compared with the behavior we’ve seen. Check out the Friday Night videos.
‘Please read the testimonies of the students present as well the statements made by representatives from our Colleges and SU Associations. These are not the characteristics we desire for our men to be able to educate, lead and support our students.
Durham’s dysfunctional culture is widespread. This is not an isolated instance, but the result of a failure to address unacceptable behaviours over a long period. The University’s recent efforts to address the historical problems have been welcomed. This incident has shown that culture and policy can be changed.
“This is a test that we all must pass. We will accept the way we lead a College like it is normal if we do.
Despite the positives at South College Tim Luckhurst’s position in Durham is not sustainable.
No Principal should be able to call their students pathetic and abuse them, or attack their desire to feel safe at their house. South College’s role as an intellectual, pastoral, and a danger to the collegiate community is no longer an asset.
This is a way to show our support for our values and our disgust at this reaction.
“The unacceptable events that occurred Friday must now be acknowledged. It is time to have an open conversation about expectations of leaders. This conversation must go beyond the misdeeds one stubborn man.
It can be extremely easy to assist someone who is wrongly convinced of their “rights” in such situations. It is not possible for our community to allow someone who offends so many of our values to go through a flawed or fast process and claim to be a victim.
“We need to have faith that the University leadership will do right, even though this process won’t be openly publicized and the result won’t be immediately. Although we are right to be mad at people who have violated the values of the community, we also understand the reasons why institution public statements can be cautious in such cases. Their response will determine how we judge them and whether they show that Tim Luckhurst can be trusted.