1980s

A Legacy of Strikes…

Swansea Begins to Strike over Rent, 1983

This was the beginning of a three-year period when Swansea students began to strike over the rent increases that the collage had begun to impose. Prices in the Snack bar, Collage bar and Refectory were also on the rise. The accommodation fees went from £800 to £950 which was an increase of 8%. Students were appalled and began withholding payments to the college.

Double Take’s Freshers Survival Guide, 1985

Source: Richard Burton Archives, Swansea University

Students back the Miners’ Strike, 1984

The students of Swansea decided to show their support when the miners went on strike in 1984. The General Body Meeting passed two notions: to provide transport and social events for striking miners, and to make a donation of £450 via the sale of information packs around campus. Students were also involved in collections for the miners as well as visiting picket lines in Port Talbot and attending demonstrations in support of the NUM. Students even involved themselves in protests supporting the miners.

The Councillor with anti-homosexual views hits Campus, 1987

The Councillor was invited without permission to come to the Conservative Association’s AGM. He was known for his homosexual views and so he was refused to be allowed onto campus. Students in Swansea were branded as being ‘thugs’ and accused of not allowing free speech. The Union voted in favour to take actions to defend and protect what it stood for. It renewed their policy of ‘no platform’ and declared the Conservative Association as unaffiliated from the union.

Source: Richard Burton Archives, Swansea University

First Student Union Owned Bar, 1988

1988 saw the student union take over its first bar; Hendre bar in the student Village. It cost £60,000 for the union to refit the entire bar due to the roof not being waterproof. Its airport waiting-room style had been removed and now students could enjoy a cheap place to drink. Every week it had happy hour which saw the price of pints go down to 60p!

Source: Richard Burton Archives, Swansea University

Students Under Attack- Crime and the Student Population

1983 – A female student was attacked in the university car park at 7pm on campus. This followed a series of incidents involving female students. The Welfare Officer, Helen Marshall, urged female students to walk in groups, preferably with males. The key sites to be aware of were Mill Lane, Clyne Gardens and Singleton Park.

1984 – Four students were arrested on drugs charges and appeared in court, they were all fined £25.

1984 – Inhabitants of Hendrefoelan have fallen prey to a variety of criminal activities such as acts of vandalism and theft.

1984 – Student ‘night line’ was set up where students would help students.

1985 – Students protested against unnecessary cruelty shown to rats in a practical for Part II Bio Chemists!

Sex Survey Results, 1988

Source: Richard Burton Archives, Swansea University

***

The 1980s was a decade of concern for some people. Students were still protesting against things that they did not agree with, however this was no longer seen as the most effective way of dealing with opposition. In addition, student crime was on the increase as the police became convinced they were dealing with organised gangs who regarded the College as a ‘soft touch’ towards crime. Most crime was non-violent and more politically-motivated based purely on arrests made during protests. The student response to crime was serious when dealing with violent crimes yet with other offenses, students appeared to make light of them.

[Sion Durham & Kate Godding]

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