The Lancaster Exchange, the annual public meeting hosted by Lancaster University, has been postponed until autumn after senior management have claimed it 'received a number of enquiries and withdrawals' due to concerns about coronavirus.
In an email sent out to ticket-holders on Tuesday night, interim vice-chancellor Steve Bradley, the Pro-Chancellor Lord Liddle, said: 'While it is still very much ‘business as usual’ here at Lancaster University this week, we are very aware that the situation regarding the Covid-19 outbreak is evolving quickly and we are reviewing our public events on a case-by-case basis.'
The Lancaster Exchange was first held in 2019, following the abolition of University Court in 2018. Court acted as the University's statutory AGM until its abolition. The Lancaster Exchange has been criticised as a far weaker body with no influence and no ability to hold University management to account through its governance structures. It is now merely a talking shop.
As the UCU strike enters its final days, and concerns about the University's bullying scandal grow by the day, University management is understandably on edge. Since the strike began, University House has been on lockdown, requiring a pass for anyone to enter.
In response to the postponement, 'The Lancaster Uni Strike' Facebook page commented: 'Seems like coronavirus is becoming a convenient excuse for cancelling anything where awkward questions will get asked!'
Despite the postponement of The Lancaster Exchange, several members of the University community will still be hosting a revived 'Lancaster University Court' in Lancaster Town Hall this afternoon, from 4pm to 5.30pm. All are welcome, and the event is likely to have a high turnout from precisely the sort of people University management wouldn't have wanted to hear from in the Exchange.