This is yarn No. 2 after A Night to Remember:
U.T.,S. Student Services Unit was originally located in the old Anthony Hordern’s building, Brickfield Hill, where World Square is today. The building was broken down, rat-infested and a fire hazard. People had previously died there in fires, either by jumping out of windows or from the fires themselves. My ex-husband actually gave me a rope ladder to escape in case of fire. When I considered the fact that our Unit adjoined an internal courtyard and in any case a rope would burn, it seemed a slightly less thoughtful gesture.
Neill Robinson, the Director of our Unit, had agreed to a practice interview with a B.A. (Communications) student Kristina (then our counsellor Steve Young’s girlfriend, now his wife of 35+ years).
Despite Neill’s frequent (and rather naive) “this is strictly off the record” the full and frank interview appeared on the front page of Newswit, the U.T.,S. student newspaper, edited by Ross Gittens.
Following upon “In Neill’s words….” appeared two paragraphs detailing the lack of interest and even contempt for students of the Vice Chancellor and the Registrar and how happy they would be if the entire study body was eliminated and they could run the place smoothly and efficiently.
Our Unit was set up to provide counselling, medical treatment, welfare, special needs and study methods for students and staff. Some academics thought students should survive without help or be eliminated, and believed our Unit kept students studying when they should have been kicked out.
I realised that this article was likely to be the death of our Unit.
As i had turned up early for work I grabbed a few students, purloined all the recently printed Newswits and set the students to work blacking out the offending paragraphs with felt pens. We had made our way through about 75% of them by the time lectures were beginning and I threw the rest of them into the garbage bins. (More next time)