09:43 GMT +320 September 2018
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    Peter Horrocks (File)

    'I Am Not A Monster': Head of Open University Breaks Down in Front of Staff

    © AP Photo / Kirsty Wigglesworth
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    The university was severely affected by the University and College Union (UCU) strike, as the management was confronted by the academics and students alike over the cuts to teaching staff's pensions.

    In a video seen by The Telegraph, Vice-Chancellor of the Open University Peter Horrocks appears breaking down in front of the academics after being accused of having a "hard heart."

    Earlier this year, Horrocks came under fire for criticizing the striking staffers and accusing them of "not teaching."

    READ MORE: Rebellious London: students protest against increased tuition fees

    "I think it's really important that the way that we use language absolutely acknowledges people's strengths and their differences," he is heard saying in the video.

    The Vice-Chancellor argued that "using a particular verb: harden and soften" was inappropriate and that he "was hurt by that."

    "I've got quite a soft heart. I care about this place. I didn't come here to be told I've got a hard heart," he exclaimed.

    Horrocks also defended his leaderships of the OU, claiming that he genuinely cares about the institution, which may dramatically cut its list of offered courses, laying off dozens of its teaching staff in what may become "the largest re-structuring redundancy program ever in UK university history".

    READ MORE: British university chief resigns over ties with Gaddafi family

    "I'm trying to save the place. Who do you think I am? A monster? Just driven by business? I came here because I care. I really care. And this place may fail."

    The OU, which offers courses primarily to mature and part-time students, has been plagued by a decrease in the number of students ever since university fees were tripled in 2012.

    Horrocks, a former BBC executive, was appointed as the Vice-Chancellor in 2015 in order to reverse the negative trend.

    He has since become a subject of major controversy for earning £360,000 per year, while overseeing a dramatic number of redundancies.

    In April this year, the academic council at the OU passed a vote of no confidence in Horrocks, though his fate as the Vice-Chancellor currently remains unknown.

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    Tags:
    cuts, breakdown, fees, university, London, United Kingdom
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