Symud i'r prif gynnwys

The proposals in the Oxford Report were only designed to allow a student with one year's residence at Ruskin to pursue a university diploma course in Economics if he so wished.52 The Ruskin authorities' statement was read at the April meeting, as was the Mid-Rhondda Trades and Labour Council's motion of protest. A reply by the students was then read. This reply attacked the decision of the Executive which they felt had been given as a result of the hostility of certain members of the staff to Dennis Hird. They repeated their claim that the Executive Committee wished to remove Sociology from the curriculum and that this grew out of the desire of members of the staff and Executive to see closer links between the University and Ruskin. They criticised the way the Executive Council was made up by co-option rather than by direct representation. M After all these documents were read. Ablett addressed the district. He repeated the claim of the students that there had been an attempt as early as 1907 to remove sociology and logic from the curriculum and to replace them with English Literature and Temperance. This the students opposed. After trying to remove the subjects, the Executive was now removing the teacher. Ablett once again attacked Furniss, stating that Lord Winterstoke, his father-in-law. was willing to give £ 10.000 to the college if Furniss was allowed to dictate the curriculum. >» To prove the relative popularity of Hird compared with that of Furniss and colleagues, Ablett produced a photograph of one of Hird's lectures filled to overflowing with students. Much of the debate was in fact conducted at this level. Because the main protagonists in the debate were so few in number, the debate tended to become trivialised and personalised. The two main issues, the immediate one of the justice of Hird's dismissal and the broader one of the nature and purpose of Workers' Education and the need for a new college, occasionally surfaced in between bouts of fairly petty recriminations. The matter was referred back to the lodges. Between the April and the May meetings of the Rhondda No. 1 district the debate shifted into the local press. The one major supporter of the Ruskin authorities active in the south Wales labour movement, T. I. Mardy-Jones, counter- attacked in an article in the South Wales Daily News of 27 April. He once again reiterated the views of the college over the dismissal of Hird and the charges made by the students over the teaching of sociology and links with the university. However, he said there was a case for reform of the College Executive and that the students would be better employed in achieving this reform than in trying to create a new College. He said that Ruskin was, like the Labour Party, a confederation of progressive bodies. He compared the tactics of the Plebs with that of the section of the ILP which was at that time trying to get the ILP to break away from the Labour Party. He proposed three reforms: a larger executive council with direct represent- ation from Labour Bodies, including the SWMF, and with an overall Labour majority; a student representative; and an annual conference to be held at the college. Replies to Mardy-Jones came from Ablett and another ex-student, J. Evans of Cwmparc, the Secretary of the South Wales Plebs. Once again the question of the teaching of sociology and the links with the university came up, but Evans followed with a swipe at Mardy-Jones's FRES. He wrote that if the students had all been