10 Jul 2009

When University Scares

Bounced around between reading up on my normal radical nonsense, I did some cross-referencing of names (probably to similar level of sophistication as the secret services) of people connected with Meltdown - either a fair-weather radical group, or a useful catch all name for a disparate group who need a brand.

Within my reading I came across the name of one academic a few times, that of Chris Knight, Professor of Anthropology at the University of East London. Well, he was. He was suspended recently due to 'gross professional misconduct'.

At the time of the G20 summit, Knight was instrumental in organising The Alternative G20 Summit which was due to take place at the ExCel centre (loads of good shit seems to happen there), which is close to the UEL campus. The University initially gave permission, allowing the organisers to book such window-smashers as Tony Benn.

At the eleventh hour, the University decided to withdraw permission to Knight to hold the event, without specific reasons why. Now, reading the fluff and bluster from both Knight's account and others, it would be easy to arrive at the conclusion of some people moaning about having their party rained on. I've actually looked for what the possible reason of the cancellation was, and nothing seems that apparent apart from it seemed like a good opportunity to squeeze out someone who obviously liked rocking the boat a bit.

Did I mention Prof Knight also does political street theatre? And is also an expert on the cultural significance of menstruation? Whatever your conclusions are, its gratifying to know that we still have people like this, and I remain disappointed that I didn't have that many lecturers like that myself.

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