A leaked report has revealed Aberdeen University had no procedures in place to deal with a student occupation which ended in violence – despite facing similar issues in the past.
Around 20 people set up camp in an administrative building last March, spending nine days living in a corridor to show solidarity with a nationwide strike over pensions.
Tensions rose on the second day of the sit-in, when a scuffle in a stairwell led to a security officer falling to the ground and having his head and genitals stamped on by someone in Dr Martens boots.
He later reported having found blood in his urine.
Concerns were later raised that a member of university staff had “rugby tackled” a crowd of protesting students amid the chaos.
The university launched an internal investigation into the matter, setting up a panel with senior staff members and an external solicitor.
Its final report, which laid out the full extent of the fracas which ensured, has now been seen by The Press and Journal.
The document said that the occupation had been organised to “seemingly cause as much disruption and provocation as possible,” including with an apparently pre-arranged plan to overcome security staff and storm the building.
According to the investigation, protesters on the inside and outside of the building came together at a fire door just after 2pm on March 14, with some using a blow-up mattress in a bid to wedge it open.
As two security officers held back the door, one had their jacket pulled and a protester placed an arm around his neck. He then fell to the ground and was trampled on.
The man was helped to his feet and the incident came to an end.
The investigation team also ruled that a staff member had been intending to move the students out of the way, and that no “formal allegations” of violence had been made against him.
It acknowledged that the university did not have a staff policy for handling student occupations, and has now recommended that it formulates new polices and sets up a dedicated incident response team.
It said: “We, and others, now have the benefit of hindsight.
“Unsurprisingly, given the absence of any established plan for responding to such situations, the staff member had not received training directly relevant to the circumstances playing before him.”
Some of the student protesters claim the document had a number of inaccuracies.
An Aberdeen University spokesman said: “The university takes on board the recommendation of the report that the university implements procedures to be followed when dealing with student occupations.”