Durham Miners to work with city's University on education programme


Durham Miners and the city's University will work together to educate students in understanding the heritage and culture of the county in which they study.

Miners leaders met with University vice chancellor Stuart Corbridge today to plan an education programme which helps incoming students understand the history and tradition of the Durham coalfield.

The meeting followed the debacle of Trevelyan College Rugby club's attempt to organise a pickets versus police 'Battle of Orgreave' themed social event.

The rugby club's error of judgement led to a flood of complaints and outrage on mainstream and social media for the offence it caused to the former mining communities of County Durham and beyond.

The Durham Miners' Association (DMA) will help the University to structure a student induction programme which includes an understanding and appreciation of the county and its people.

The DMA has also invited the Trevelyan College Rugby Club to the historic Miners' Hall so they can see the enormous contribution miners have made to British history including the establishment of the University.

DMA Secretary Alan Cummings said: "The University has apologised profusely for the offence caused by this incident. We have had emails from the students' union, the college and, most importantly, a heartfelt apology from the rugby club.

"We accept that the rugby club was acting in ignorance and they genuinely regret for what they have done.

"We will continue to maintain good, constructive relations with students, academics and researchers at the University.

"Clearly, we can't condone a lack of respect for the people of County Durham on this scale. It has raised a critical question about how university students relate to working class people, not just in Durham, but elsewhere.

"We should all learn lessons from this episode."

Durham University Vice Chancellor Stuart Corbridge said: “The University is extremely grateful to the DMA for the constructive discussions we have had in regard to the Rugby Club incident.  We now look forward to working with the DMA on an important education programme based around the history of the Durham coalfield and County Durham.  The programme will benefit all students coming to Durham University, including a growing number of students from the northeast who will join us from increasingly diverse backgrounds.”