From Trent Park to tent park!

Students and staff at Middlesex University have set up a tent camp in front of the Burroughs Entrance to the Hendon campus. They plan to stay until tomorrow morning, when the four students who were suspended last week will be facing disciplinary panels.

Come to Hendon campus to join the camp-in! Take the Northern Line to Edgware and get off at Hendon station!



Middlesex University set up a tent camp in front of the Hendon Campus's administrative building.

Reports 23 May 2010

MIDDLESEX UNIVERSITY STUDENTS AND STAFF SUSPENDED

From the Save Middlesex Philosophy blog:

Some Middlesex University Philosophy students, along with Philosophy professors Peter Osborne and Peter Hallward, were suspended from the University this afternoon. Hallward and Osborne were issued with letters announcing their suspension from the University with immediate effect, pending investigation into their involvement in the recent campus occupations. The suspension notice blocks them from entering University premises or contacting in any way University students and employees without the permission of Dean Ed Esche ([email protected]) or a member of the University’s Executive.

The Campaign,
Friday afternoon, 21 May 2010.

The response of Middlesex management to peaceful protest is typical, and it is likely that anti-cuts campaigns across the country will face more brutal retribution as the movement gains strength.

The blog has a leaflet and petition that can be printed and distributed at your university. It’s very important that the higher education community all over the country makes it clear that we will not stand by while university managements victimise students and staff who are standing up for education.

There is a rally in support of the suspended staff and students on Thursday 27 May at 4pm, at the Hendon Campus. Please write, call, and email the Board of Governors at Middlesex to let them know that this victimisation will not stand!

Follow the Save Middlesex Philosophy campaign on Twitter: @SaveMDXPhil

RIGHT TO WORK CONFERENCE

Members of the National Campaign attended the Right to Work emergency conference on Saturday in London, putting forth two proposals in the Fighting Education Cuts workshop: 1) to fully support any occupations and direct action taken by staff and students fighting cuts and 2) to pressure the NUS, which promised to arrange a demonstration against cuts, to actually do so. Full report to come later.

Follow the Education Activist Network on Twitter: @edactivistnet

SUSSEX SIX SLAPPED ON THE WRIST

The six students at Sussex University who were suspended last term and then reinstated after massive public outcry faced their disciplinary panels on 18 May. Faced with a ludicrous lack of evidence, the panel found the six students not guilty of riot and intimidation but guilty of disruption.

Their punishment is a fine, which the students plan to appeal, and letters to members of Sussex House staff acknowledging that they may have felt intimidated. The result of these panels is a clear indicator of just how weak the case against the six students was.

Faced with increasingly resistant students and staff, university managements are escalating their tactics, as Middlesex and Sussex have found. It is vitally important that anti-cuts movements across the country show solidarity with each other and demonstrate that we will not be bullied into submission by ham-handed authoritarian responses.

Follow Sussex Stop the Cuts on Twitter: @stopsussexcuts

And follow the National Campaign on Twitter: @imAFC

More from Middlesex Philosophy occupation

The latest from the Middlesex University occupation, including activities and discussions this weekend.
[Read more...]

Report from Occupied Middlesex University

http://savemdxphil.wordpress.com

The following is a report from Mark B, an activist from Revo (www.worldrevolution.org.uk)

Middlesex Philosophy department has entered its second night of occupation. The occupation began on the 4th May in response to the closure of all the BA, MA and PhD programmes at the department. The closures were announced on 28th April by the Dean of the School of Arts & Humanities, Ed Esche. Ed Esche called a Q&A meeting with students for the 4th May to discuss the closure. He cancelled the meeting at the last minute and refused to show. In response the students decided to go ahead with the meeting and discuss what action they would do to secure meaningful talks with management and try and halt the closure.

They decided the best course of action was occupation and proceeded to occupy the Dean’s office in the Philosophy department. Students locked themselves in the Dean’s office while others occupied the corridor, demanding that the Dean show up and face students. They held the office all day. A discussion took place as to whether they should leave at 6pm, or continue the occupation. Undergraduate students came out strongly in favour of this and following discussion they decided to continue the occupation overnight.

The next day the students tried to hold a department social which they had planned several weeks before, to be held in the opposite wing of the building. In a spiteful act management cancelled the social. In response students staged a solidarity demonstration outside the building. The occupiers then decided to extend their occupation to the whole of the Philosophy Department building. While the crowd outside made noise the occupiers forced their way past security guards and into the rest of the building. Security then gave up and retreated to a side building where they remain. The entire philosophy building is now under the student’s control.

The occupation has organised openly and democratically. After the closure was announced a committee was formed of students to coordinate the campaign. Since the occupation began all critical decisions have been taken collectively in mass meetings of the occupiers, by voting. The occupiers are currently demanding talks with management to discuss the future of the department. A meeting is scheduled for 6th May with the VC.

The management’s reason’s for closing the department display the brutal market logic which is corrupting the higher education system and leading to the destruction of courses and jobs. The management claim that because the department only contributes 53% of its gross income to the central administration, rather than the required 55% it is ‘simply financial’ sense for the closure to take place. The management argue they can make more money by transferring the funds they spend on Philosophy to other areas.

Alongside this the Dean said that the department made no ‘measurable’ contribution to the University, despite being the highest research-rated subject in the University. 65% of its research activity is judged ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, and it is now widely recognised as one of the most important centres for the study of modern European philosophy anywhere in the English-speaking world. It was awarded a score of 2.8 on the new RAE scale in 2008 which guarantees it significant funding for several years. The university administration is cynically abusing funding rules which mean that it can close the philosophy courses, but as long as the department remains open, even in name only, the university can still claim the funding and simply divert it elsewhere. This is the result of the the business logic driving the administration, attempting to maximise income while reducing costs.

There are ideological reasons behind the administrations disregard for the department, as one of the PhD student occupiers Hammam said, “the university as a business is part of a political economic system, high capitalism, and this is a department which handles and develops theory which challenges this system.” It is little wonder the management do not consider it contributes anything.

With the profit motive as the main motivating factor for decisions under capitalism there is little room for a radical philosophy department which critique and challenge the status quo and call into question the whole system we live under. During the recession, as public spending is cut and education is slashed and burned we will only be able to maintain these courses if we are willing to fight for them. Middlesex students have shown they are willing to fight for their education. We must learn from them, follow their example, extend the struggle to every campus in Britain and show we are willing to fight for ours.

Middlesex occupation grows

Statement from the student occupation at Middlesex University

savemdxphil.wordpress.com

The student occupation at Middlesex University now covers the entire Mansion Building at Trent Park campus. The occupation was extended earlier this evening in light of continued management refusal to meet us and discuss our opposition to their plans to shut down Middlesex’s world-renowned philosophy department.

Our occupation is in protest at this abrupt, unjustified and unacceptable decision. We want it reversed. Students have been occupying the executive boardroom at Trent Park since yesterday morning. Today, management again refused to meet our representatives or enter discussions with the students affected by their decision to close the philosophy programme.

We affirm that the university is a site for education, not for profit. It belongs to the people who study, teach and work here, not to those who view the institution as a mere instrument for making money or for furthering their careers. As such, we see the extension of our occupation as a restoration of the university to what it should be, and a reversal of what it has become.

We invite everyone to come and visit the occupied Mansion Building at Trent Park and show their solidarity – not just with our campaign, but with all other struggles against education cuts. We view our occupation as an integral part of a wider movement of student protest, and we are proud to have representatives of these other campaigns with us.

We want this site to become an open hub of culture, politics, thought and creativity. We will be organising a cultural programme and a philosophy teach-in, details of which will be released shortly. Everyone who supports our vision and struggle is welcome here.

More information and messages of solidarity: 07799 156 481.

Middlesex students occupy to stop Philosophy closure

Students and lecturers at Middlesex University (Trent Campus), campaigning to stop the closure of the Philosophy department, were stood up by their Dean this morning – and took matters into their own hands. Some students are staging a sit-in in the corridor outside the Dean’s office, others have locked themselves inside, demanding that the Dean turn up and face his accusers.

Send messages of solidarity to 07799 156 481.

The campaign has also agreed to send a delegation to the UCU strike demo in Central London tomorrow.

The occupiers have this to say:

“Last week, we were invited to a meeting with Dean of Arts Ed Esche and Deputy VC Margaret House at 10.30 on Tuesday 4th May (the day before our deadlines), to address our concerns about the closure of our Philosophy Department. Re-arranging our commitments at great inconvenience to ourselves, we arrived at the campus for the meeting, only to find it that they had cancelled it the night before.

Security attempted to stop us entering the corridor and called the police, however the police decided to take no action. The students are now sitting in the board room (around 5 feet from the Dean’s office door), waiting for the Dean to show up and address our concerns.

Students are unanimous in our demand: allow us the meeting you promised us. We have voted unanimously to remain here in occupation in protest of the refusal to meet us.”

Fight to save Philosophy at Middlesex!

Late on Monday 26 April, staff in Philosophy at Middlesex University in London were informed that the University executive are to close all Philosophy programmes: undergraduate, postgraduate and MPhil/PhD.
[Read more...]