Pete Creswell, Former Liverpool University Student...

Pete Creswell, Former Liverpool University Student and Apartheid Protester, Gets Honorary Degree

Liverpool University is granting an honorary degree to Pete Creswell, a former student who, in 1970, was expelled for protesting the school’s support of South African apartheid. Organizing a sit-in at the university’s Senate House, Creswell–and the 300 protesters who joined him–objected to the then-chancellor’s vocal support of apartheid and the school’s financial entanglements with South Africa. He was expelled soon after, but almost 50 years later, Liverpool University seems to have realized their mistake.

As protests spread across college campuses in the United States, from Black Lives Matter last year to post-election discontent, this long-term view is important to consider. Political actions are remembered long after they’re over, and both the people doing them and the institutions responding to them are judged for their stances, especially in cases like apartheid where history has established one side was unambiguously wrong. There is not a strict separation of political and moral issues, and we see that, even after punishing protestors, some schools realize this.

Interviewed by The Guardian, Creswell said “I would stick by my political principles. In the end we were proved right, weren’t we?” Protesters in 2016 can remember this: no matter what consequences they face, doing the right thing can be remembered.


About Stewart Finnegan

In a perfect world, I'd be a professor who teaches poetry using episodes of mediocre sci-fi procedurals, but for now, I'm just a tutor who watches a lot of TV. I got my BA from Kalamazoo College in English with a focus on creative writing, and someday soon I'd like to go back to academia. Most of my formal teaching training was as a creative writing TA, but I've used those skills professionally more to tutor math and write data entry training materials. And though I'd like to focus my work on what I'm really passionate about (which is Netflix binges and outdated video games, mostly), it's the craft of teaching and writing that keeps me coming back. That's why I'm excited to be a part of High Faluter: I'm finding that academia doesn't just stay in academia. And if I can bring crappy midbrow entertainment into academia too, well, all the better. You can find me on Twitter: @StewartFinnegan