The collection of administrative papers of the University of Stirling held in the University Archives records the development of the University and the significant events which have left their mark on the institution. In 1972 the university was planning for a royal visit. A new vibrant university set in beautiful grounds, Stirling was keen to celebrate its achievements and many staff were involved in the hard work to ensure the visit of Queen Elizabeth II went smoothly. Unfortunately the event did not go to plan. Some students protested during the visit and the subsequent press coverage and public outrage, caused embarrassment to the University.
However the newspaper headlines and photographs only told one side of the story. The extensive photographic record of the visit held in the University Archives shows the reality of the event with cheering crowds of well-wishers outnumbering the student protesters who caught the media’s attention.
In the aftermath of the protest the university authorities took immediate action, banning student meetings and bringing disciplinary charges against a number of students. An enquiry was established:
“To consider in the light of the experience of the last five years the policies and running of the University: to consider to what extent these were reflected in the events of the 12 October 1972; to make recommendations on changes therein thought to be necessary or desirable; and to report therin to the University Court and through it to the Academic Council where appropriate “
The Roger Young Enquiry reported in 1973, with many other universities interested in its findings. Ensuring student participation and engagement was on the agenda even then the report recommended that:
“The fundamental ingredients for progress are a more cheerful attitude combined with a truer perspective; and a more open approach towards the creation of a caring community.”