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STUDENTS REVOLT. NOVEL SITUATION AT RUSKIN COLLEGE.

A POPULAR PRINCIPAL DIS- " MISoED {From Our Own Correspondent.) LONDON, 2nd April. A strike of workmen students at Poiskin College, Oxford, has been in full progress this week. It is one of the quaintest of strikes, this revolt of the 54 students of the college against what they consider the intolerable action of the authorities with regard to Mr. Dennis Hird, the principal. Mr. Hird, the students say, was called upon to resign a fortnight ago, and was offered a pension and promised a testimonial. As Mr. Hird had signed an agreement by which he could give or receive six months' notice, he had no option but to comply with the demand. Mi. Hird asked for a reason for his dismissal, and was informed that it was because he was unable to mainlain discipline. The real reason, the students declare, is the alleged unpopularity of one of Mr. Hird's subjects — sociology — with the executive. The movement to establish a definite connection between Oxford University and Ruskin College necessitates the alteration of Ihe latter's curriculum, so as not to offend the susceptibilities of the University. Mr. Hird's subject is the particular stumbling block, so he must The official lecturers have been barred out, and the students have " appointed members from among themselves to carry out the professional duties. The men also have formed themselves into a "general committee of defence" ; they hold their meetings in thair bedrooms, and none may enter or leave the college without giving the proper sign. THE DRAMA AT WESTMINSTER. The scene of action changed on Wednesday from 0-Kford to London, in view of the meeting of the council in a com-mittee-room of the House of Commons, to decide upon the action of the executive in demanding the resignation of Mr. Dennis Hird, the principal, and upon the rebellion among the 54 students, who decline to part with their chief. Mr. Charles Buxton, the son ot the Postmaster-General, who is the viceprincipal of the college, and on the side of the executive council, escaped early in the morning from the strict and unpleasant boycott of which he has been the victim, and took a breakfast tram lo town. He was "shadowed" by two of the student- strikers,' who followed him in the afternoon lo the House. Many of the students also travelled to town, indeed, all the leading actors in this strange little drama assembled at Westminster. Most of the members of the council (including the executive) went to the committee-room 15. Among them were Professor Sidney Ball. Professor H. B. Lees Smith, *My. C. W. Bowerman, M.P.. Mr. Richard Bell, M.P., Mr. D. J. Shackleton, M.P., Mr. H. S. Leon, J.P., the Rev. A. J. Carlyle, and Professor Henry Goiidy. Mr. G. N Barnes, M.P., who fs on the executive council, refused to join the meeting, and told the press representative that he intended to stand outside the controversy. Outside the committee-room young Mr. Buxton read out "The Pied Piper of Hamelin" to Mr. Wilson, the secretary of the college, presumably to show his detachment from this scene of strife. A House of Commons policeman was an interested auditor of his elocution. MR. HIRD'S MISFORTUNES. Mr. Hird is a distinguished looking man, with short grey beard and a certain charm of manner. In an interview he said : "The whole trouble between the council and myself has been in .regard to the administration of the college. I maintain that if the discipline had been imperfect students would not have attended the lectures with such splendid regularity. The committee of enquiry at Christmas withdrew charges against me of preaching Atheism and Socialism, I am an out-and-out Socialist, and two out of every three students who come here, and perhaps more, are Socialists. As active young trade unionists, men they are necessarily Socialists. I have not- pushed Socialism down their throats, because there has been no need for it. All my past misfortunes have been dve — first' to the fact that I am a democrat, and, second, because I am a poor man, who could always be squeezed. I was a clergyman of tha Church of England, and was given the living of Eastnor by Lady Henry Somerset, but because I wrote a satirical novel called 'The Christian with Two Wives' I was driven out of the living, and in 1896 I lenounced my orders. Pieyious to that I was secre tary of the London Diocese of the Church Temperance Society, but in 1894 1 was compelled to resign that ijost Decause I joined the Social Democratic Federation." CHARGES WITHDRAWN. Mr. Hird further said that the charges which had been made against him of Atheism and Socialism had been fully and unreservedly withdrawn in writing by the council ; but the meeting then being held was discussing the decision of a sub-committee (appointed since the strike) that "discipline must be sustained," and that the principal himself should go. Mr. Hird's chfef supporter in these hours of suspense was Mr. Macphersori, the Labour member for Preston, Lancashire, who is himself an old Ruskiii College man. Mr. Macpherson intends to stand by Mr. Hird "through thick and thin," "and all the old students are rallying round him. He has received 500 letters from these men, protesting against the dismissal of the principal, and upholding the action ot the students. "If the council decides against Mr. Hird," said Mr. Macpherson, "we shall not let the matter ond there. We shall fight the matter through." The council sat for three hours, and then declined to communicate their decision to Mr. Hird or the press. It whs understood that the council resolved to adhere to its decision. . It is stated to-day thai Mr. Dennis Hird is no longer principal of Ruskin College, and that the acceptance of his resignation was announced to the students yesterday by Mr, H. S. Leon and the Rev. A. J. Carlyle. Mr. Hird is understood to have retired on a pension of £150 a year.

Mr. H. G. Ell, M.P., gave an address in Auckland on "Rating on Unimproved Land Values." Before commencing his speech, the speaker complained that the Mayor had refused to do him the kindness to preside at his meeting. Mr. El! thanked Mr. Geo. Sayers, Mayor of Grey Lynn, who took the chair. A site of 80 acres has been secured by the Otago Hospital and Charitable Aid Board for the election of a consumption sanatorium. Sufficient accommodation will be provided for the needs of Southland as well. The cost is £1000, and some buildings already standing on the site will bo of service in the schema

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STUDENTS REVOLT. NOVEL SITUATION AT RUSKIN COLLEGE. Evening Post, Volume LXXVII, Issue 114, 15 May 1909

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