Miners and University Meet to Plan Way Forward

Durham University and the Durham Miners' Association (DMA) will meet  tomorrow morning (November 28) to discuss positive ways forward from the offence caused by inappropriate and offensive student behaviour.

The University Vice Chancellor Stuart Corbridge called the DMA to apologise for the actions of Trevelyan College students who had threatened to organise a planned social event based on a miners' strike theme.

The college rugby club were to dress up as police and miners to emulate the Battle of Orgreave.

DMA Chairman Joe Whitworth said: "We want to work with the university to see if we can learn some lessons from this incident. People have been deeply upset by the callous mockery of miners and mining communities. It is clear that the rugby club do not understand the sensitivities surrounding the miners' strike and the devastation of our communities after it.

"We will invite the rugby club to our headquarters in Durham in an effort to progress their knowledge of the community in which they study. It is important that students from all social backgrounds understand how to live well with their neighbours. Understanding the history, heritage and culture of County Durham should be part of their education while they are in the city.

"We have agreed that we all need a positive outcome from this incident and we will be discussing the broader issues arising from it with the university tomorrow. We have good working relationships with the university, its researchers, students and academics. These should not be spoiled by daft student antics."

Prof Corbridge said, “Durham University is proud to be part of the vibrant communities of County Durham and the wider North East. We will not tolerate this kind of distasteful and divisive behaviour.  The planned event has been cancelled, the sports team involved has been de-ratified and will use our disciplinary procedures to take appropriate actions. Moving forward, it is clear that we can do more to ensure that our students are properly informed about the history and the heritage of the communities who kindly host them during their university careers. I am grateful to the DMA for helping us start that conversation”.

Durham City MP Roberta Blackman-Woods said: "I am delighted the University and the DMA have worked together quickly on this. It has caused real offence to the people of the city and the county as a whole. I am pleased the DMA have offered to educate students about the importance of our mining communities and their history."