Flashmob or flashflop? SU “Ven’debt’a” begins

Only 20 of the University of Lincoln’s 10,000+ students took part in the Students’ Union’s flashmob on Tuesday — some of whom already work for the SU. Six people turned up to the rehearsals on Monday, February 1st, last week.

At 1pm, music started playing around the Main Academic Building as flashmob participants, wearing special t-shirts, scrambled to the front of the Atrium where they performed a dance routine.


Campaigners performed the dance routine in the Atrium. (Click to enlarge) Photo: Samuel Cox

In an interview for The Linc‘s Week In Review podcast, Kayleigh Turner, education officer at the SU, said the event is about raising awareness of the higher education debate.

“It’s about getting current students involved, because it would be very easy for all our students to say ‘this won’t affect us, why should we care?’, and it’s about making them understand why they should care and having their backing. It’s not just about the cuts here. If there are more cuts elsewhere then it could affect them,” she said.

One student who was sitting in the main building during the flashmob said: “It was pretty good for what they could do.” However, he also said he didn’t know what the flashmob was about.

Another onlooker, who graduated four years ago, believes current students should stop protesting against student debt: “They know what they’re signing up for before they do it. If you don’t want to pay the debts, don’t sign up. It’s as simple as that.”

Twitter reactions to the flashmob were scarce and not particularly positive: “Lincoln SU Flashmob. The words ‘brewery’, ‘pissup’ and ‘organise’ leap to mind,” posted student Nick Jackson.

Chris Charnley, president of Lincoln’s SU, said: “It raises the profile [of the campaign] to the people here [in the main building] and is a… focal point to start the campaign off.

“This campaign is aimed at a wider audience, not just current students. [It’s] about educating current students, future students, and families about where they should be placing their vote and who has their loyalties to students.”

Charnley didn’t take part in the dance, saying he’s “not a good dancer”.

6 Responses to Flashmob or flashflop? SU “Ven’debt’a” begins

  1. Fraser McFarland says:

    Looks like a GREAT success, I bet the government is really worried now and will be immediately changing the way we fund higher education as we speak.

    I doubt Gordon Brown will be able to sleep at all tonight!

  2. Huseyin Kishi says:

    “…about educating current students, future students, and families about where they should be placing their vote and who has their loyalties to students.”

    How was this achieved exactly?

    It seemed more gimmick, than protest. Where were the facts, the petitions, the information regarding such matters?

    Oh, that’s right, they weren’t there.

  3. Amy says:

    I think it’s great to see people trying to get involved, rather than most people who sit and do nothing. It’s encouraging to see something like this coming from students and I’m sure it created awarness for many others. It’s at the University of Lincoln for goodness sake, not in the middle of Leicester Square, I’m sure they were quite aware they wouldn’t catch Gordon Brown’s attention.

    Sarcasm and snobbery certainly isn’t going to get us anywhere is it?

  4. Fraser McFarland says:

    AMY – There was no point to this farce and was used more as an early election tool by current SU officers than any other reason.

    (Coming from students) even though a high percentage are no longer students and I’m sure it created a lot of awareness from students who are already at university and in debt.

    I just wonder how much the SU paid for the t-shirts for the event, money which could be more effectively spent on other things.

  5. Richard Banks says:

    So this was a fail, well at least they tried and obviously they are not used to organising any sort of protest or demonstration otherwise, as has been stated by Huseyin above, they would have had information, leaflets, petitions etc. to hand out. My question is where is the information about the protest on Saturday?

    Apart from some blog mention and this article, there is no information (unless you read yesterdays Echo) about the protest. As someone who has been involved in organising a demonstration in Lincoln, giving people information before hand helps to get people to turn up – or are the Students’ Union trying to keep it quiet?

    If you are serious about campaigning about this unfair system, where education is only available to the “rich” and not a right to all, then get organised, inform people what is going on, and explain what you are trying to acheive and why, otherwise it does look like it’s a stunt for a few student officers to get re-elected!

    As some one who is hoping to come along on saturday and add their solidarity why hasn’t the student union contacted the Lincoln and District Trade Council (of which I happen to be vice-president) to get the unions to help organise and add their support? Why haven’t we seen more direct action as has taken place in other parts of the country with students occupying facilty buildings to show that they are not going to be walked over by this unfair system where the bankers get huge bonuses and then the public pay the price (but the bankers kids will be able to afford education, so it will be alright). Anyway enough rant, I say to the student union get your act togther and start to organise properly, make connections with other unions, educate the students as to what the changes mean to them and why they should give a damn! As a student I do speak to other students who tell me they have concerns and that they care but informing people is the key and showing them by example that direct action does work (for example the lindsey oil refinery dispute). They would like to take action but they need support and as the student union it is your duty to do so.

  6. To be fair to them, they handed out some small flyers afterwards.