Aberystwyth Re-occupied! Day 5

We have occupied Hugh Owen A12/A14 in opposition to the decimation of higher education in the United Kingdom. We act in solidarity with all those facing the barbaric and unnecessary cuts across society. We reject the idea that the cuts are necessary and recognise that they are motivated out of political choice rather than economic necessity. 

We recognise that the space we occupy is ours and as such we have made it a place where critical thinking and dialogue occurs, involving all in the university and the general public. As part of this we are committed not to disrupting the ongoing lectures happening. We occupy in solidarity with future generations, fellow occupiers and movements across the globe. 

We recognise a burning need for participatory democracy within the university, and many students feel marginalised by the management. We feel this occupation raises awareness of our campaign not only to students, but to senior management. We believe that in the spirit of academia the university management should engage in open and public dialogue and debate willingly. This will ensure that the students see the university management as acting in their interests and not following the government in market-driven policy.

We reject the idea that “we’re all in this together” when the ideologically driven cuts will affect the poorest and the vulnerable the hardest, while large corporations and the rich avoid taxes successfully. 

We reject the idea that knowledge is a commodity, and believe these austerity measures are neither progressive nor just.

Please send messages of support and solidarity to [email protected]

Befriend us on Facebook: Occupied Aberystwyth
Find us on twitter: http://twitter.com/AberUncut

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

Vice Chancellors in “earn too much, make cuts” shocker

Sell these relics off and buy books

Sell these relics off and buy books

Reposted from the Education Not for Sale site: www.free-education.org.uk

The results of the Guardian’s survey of the pay received by universities’ top officials are vomit-inducing.

At a time when university workers and students are facing massive cuts, more than 80 university heads now ‘earn’ more than £200,000. 19 get more than £300,000. Some have received 15 or 20 percent increases in the last year, and some seen their salary double or even triple in ten years.

The highest, Andrew Likierman at the London Business School, is on £474,000. He has benefited from a 78 percent increase in the last decade, ‘losing out’ in comparison with Roy Anderson of Imperial College (162 percent) Howard Newby of Liverpool (188 percent) and Andrew Hamilton of Oxford (220 percent). The lowest paid head of an HE institution, Michael Earley at Rose Bruford drama College in Sidcup, is on £122,000.

The number of other top HE officials on more than £100,000 has also mushroomed, now running into thousands, with hundreds at some universities.

Meanwhile, the university hierarchy is not only slashing jobs and holding down wages for university workers, but continuing its campaign for students to pay more. In the same week the Guardian survey was published, Oxford Chancellor (honorary head) Chris Patten called tuition fees of £3,225 “preposterously low”.

So inflated are the salaries involved that putting top university officials on something more like what they pay their workers would actually free up quite large amounts of money. But in any case, their huge pay outs are indicative of the kind of universities we have: giant businesses where the interests of both students and staff are sacrificed to the bottom line.

Great Leap Forward at Sussex

As staff at Sussex go on strike against cuts today, we are happy to announce several important victories that the anti-cuts campaign have won already!

In a packed Student Union Emergency General Meeting with over 750 students present, a vote of no confidence in the Vice Chancellor and the senior management was overwhelmingly passed. That is a great blow against the legitimacy of management.

While that was taking place, the University Senate voted to re-instate the Sussex 6, and to organise an independent investigation into the events surrounding the calling of the police on the 3rd of March. The only members of the Senate who voted against were the unelected senior management.

The Sussex anti-cuts campaign have won a victory for all students. They have sent a clear signal to university managers that heavy-handed, brutal authoritarian tactics on our campuses will not go unpunished.

Now students and staff around the world should send messages of congratulations and support the Sussex strike!

More like this, please

Quick Round-Up: Police on campus; strike and occupation at Sussex; successful showdown at UEA

This is a quick round-up of the day’s events – more information coming soon.

Students at Sussex occupied part of their university following a campus carnival – but were attacked by riot police armed with dogs and pepper spray. Footage of this outrage will be uploaded shortly. More details here: http://defendsussex.wordpress.com/

As the occupation was going on, the lecturer’s union UCU at Sussex announced an overwhelming ‘yes’ vote, in favour of strike action: http://defendsussex.wordpress.com/2010/03/03/76-of-ucu-members-in-favour-of-strike/

Meanwhile, at the University of East Anglia, scaredy-cat management had also organised a heavy police presence, to intimidate the hundreds of students who came to the day of action against fees and cuts. The demonstration was a warning shot across management’s bows – to show that, whatever cuts are being planned at UEA (no cuts have been definitively announced yet), students will not tolerate them. Students at UEA surrounded their VC’s office and demanded public negotiations between management and staff and students: not the kind of behind-closed-doors ticking-off, or sham “consultation” that we have seen at other universities. Management agreed to discuss the university’s finances and future in a public meeting organised through the students’ union. More details coming soon. Check out: http://ncafaceast.blogspot.com/

Keep reports of anti-cuts actions on your campus flooding in to [email protected] – and, rest assured, the National Campaign’s wave of action is far from over…

University of East Anglia – senior management are terrified!

UEA management

UEA management on Monday

On the day of the Westminster University occupation, two days before UEA’s day of action against fees and cuts, senior management sent an email to the anti-cuts campaign. Clearly, they had seen what was going on at Westminster and are afraid of the National Campaign’s wave of action spreading to their campus. Here is the letter they sent:

Dear XXX

I understand that you are involved in organising the ‘Day of Action’
protest planned for 3 March. The Vice-Chancellor will not be on campus on Wednesday, but the
Pro-Vice Chancellor (Academic), Professor Tom Ward would be willing to
meet with a small delegation to explain to you the University’s position in relation
to HE cuts. Would you be willing to speak to him to outline your concerns?

I am happy to help facilitate this meeting. I am sure that a discussion
between students and a very senior member of the University could be extremely
valuable in helping to enhance mutual understanding and identify ways that we can all
work together to limit the impact of the current government spending cuts on
the quality of the UEA student experience.

Please let me know if I can do anything to help.

Best wishes

XXXX”

A UEA anti-cuts campaigner says,

“Turns out that our day of action falls on the same day as an open day!

The management are clearly shitting themselves. We have obviously refused
a private meeting during our day of action, but have offered them another
meeting where we can properly elect our delegation!

University management is obviously trying to intimidate us.”

Westminster University – mass meeting passes vote of no confidence in VC

Reposted from http://fightcutsatuow.blogspot.com/

Over 150 staff and students placed a unanimous vote of no confidence in the vice-chancellor, and his management, at a rally addressing Westminster’s severe proposed job cuts.

The meeting, which took place yesterday, saw encouraging and emotive speeches from Union representatives, one of whom revealed that the latest slashes are set at 190 academic and 90 administrative jobs.

A Unison representative clarified that up until a year ago finance papers showed that the university was operating at a surplus of over two per cent, therefore, she and others across the board claimed it suggests that management (who are not allowing public access to any finance details at the present moment) are simply using Mandleson’s Higher Education cuts and their ’11 million budget deficit’ as a guise to fulfil an already planned agenda to slim down on staff and further marketise the establishment.

To place this in perspective it was later reveled that the university plans to spend 61 million on a new building project, ironic, seeing as there will be considerably fewer lecturers to fill it.

Furthermore, a representative from the University and Colleges Union (UCU) pinpointed to a study undertaken by the union which has disturbingly found that whilst academic positions have only risen by three per cent, managerial positions with an allocated wage of £100, 000, have risen by 25 per cent.

“This has attributed to a management clique, who live upstairs, and have no idea of what’s going on on the ground,” she declared.

This sentiment was shared across the board, a speaker and lecturer involved in the struggles at London Metropolitan University, riled staff and students alike by describing the process which led to their feat over the Vice-Chancellor and the board of governors; ballots, strikes and student occupations.

However, an ex National Secretary of the UCU gave some hope by urging staff to remember that there has not been a single voluntary redundancy at Westminster for 20 years, due to staff resistance.

Even so, a computing lecturer from the floor, for example, revealed that his department of 150 is set for a hammering of a third of the positions.

With this and other revelations, a sense of urgency swept the floor and led to an exciting dialogue of what to do next..

An immediate vote of no confidence for vice-chancellor Geoff Petts and his management was called for and achieved.

Striking was placed on the table, but this can prove to be a long and bureaucratic process, taking up to six weeks.

In the meantime, it is down to us students to support our tutors as much as we possibly can by taking any action necessary to stop management in their profiteering tracks. Not only are jobs at risk but the future of education as we know it is, we can’t take this without a fight … can we?

Former Head of PR at London College of Communication speaks

Paul Simpson

Paul Simpson, former course director for the BA(Hons) Public Relations course at the London College of Communication, resigned December last year from what he called his “dream job”, under pressure from the college’s administration.

Here is a short version of Paul’s account on the massacre occuring at LCC (University of the Arts London).

To read the full article click HERE.


Set the record straight

London College of Communication has serious issues that many feel it needs to address. I am not going to use this blog entry to go through those arguments in detail, but do feel it is fair that students applying to ‘LCC’ know that I am no longer employed there, and that students at the university have major issues about the institution. [Read more…]