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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 6. 4th April 1973

Assault in Lecture Room

Assault in Lecture Room

At 10.04 a.m. on Friday March 30th a student was assaulted in a lecture theatre in the Hunter Building.

Students in a Sociology 200 level class had just started answering questions in a written examination when the student stood up, ripped up his exam paper and began to give a lecture from the front of the class: "What you are going to observe in the next 50 minutes is a social phenomenon. As students of sociology we are taught to observe and analyse such phenomena. But here is a case where we are affected by what is happening. We are the subjects rather than the observers of this action".

He was going to continue to tell the class that assessment was nothing more than a method of stratifying the class. It treated knowledge as a commodity like capital, which divided student from student. It encouraged people to have more; more marks today, more money tomorrow. It slotted people for a particular role in the capitalist machine.

While an older woman in the front of the class yelled out "druggie", the two lecturers (both of whom had rejected the functionalist theory of stratification in favour of the conflict theory) began to try and stop the student disrupting their class. With comments such as "get out son", "go give your lecture outside", they grabbed the student and attempted to drag him outside.

The student managed to escape and walked quickly around the room, continuing his lecture but closely followed by the two lecturers. Finally, when the lecturers saw that force would not remove the guerrilla lecturer from the room they remembered their sociology theory which predicted that the rest of the students would not question the system and would be against the disruptor. The lecturers called for a vote on whether the lecture should continue. Twenty students voted for the test, three students voted against.

At this stage the guerrilla lecturer left quietly.