UEL – under occupation

I received the following press release on Facebook

We the students of the University of East London have gone into occupation on UEL’s main campus at Docklands in response to senior management’s decision to savagely tear apart the Humanities and Social Sciences department of our university. The occupation was commenced after a symbolic ‘funeral’ for the department on the 22nd of March which was attended by more than 200 students. The procession left the central university square to deliver a wreath to John Joughin, UEL Deputy Vice Chancellor, who was not available to see us at the time. The group then sat down to discuss the situation and, after about an hour and a half over thirty people voted to occupy EB.G.14, a ground floor room in the Atrium, Docklands’ main building.

Officially, Friday is the end of the three week consultancy process, a timeframe which we feel amounts to little more than a slap in the face to students and staff concerned about the damage these changes could bring upon our university. This is why our highest priority demand is the extension of the consultation period to allow for us to effectively organise a resistance to the cuts as they have manifested in the attack on HSS. Ultimately our demands are that the HSS remain one cohesive school located entirely on Docklands campus, that students receive the degrees that they signed up for and that there be no lecturer or staff job losses now or in future. It is our fervent belief that education is the keystone upon which a free society is built and that the attacks on the sector represent nothing less than an attack on the very fabric of society itself.We will use our time in occupation to build support both for the national lecturer’s strike on the 24th, when we plan to be supporting our lecturers all day on their picket lines, and also the TUC demonstration on the 26th, which we feel could be a turning point not only in the struggle for education but also in the fight to resist austerity across all levels of society and present a clear and defiant challenge to the ConDem coalition

Today I also received the results of the pointless student survey. Here’s a taster.

When I had a meeting with the representative of the UEL in Lagos Nigeria in 2008, I was told about the facilities at the Dockland
campus, and how they will be most accessible because that was where my course of study is situated. Based on that, i decided to
study at this university. The offer of admission also stated that my course of study was going to be at this campus. I think it is a
breach of contract and quite unfair to suddenly toss me around and away from where I had built my time and comfort as it relates to
my study.

I really hope this student sues UEL if…what am I saying? When it goes ahead.

My comment was far too scathing and they don’t appear to have included it. I was offered an appointment to discuss the changes with the hatchet man. I declined, saying,

Dear Liz,
I don't see what good it will do. The closure of SHSS is a forgone conclusion. I also receive a bursary from HSS and if the school is closed, what happens to that? Prof Joughin said nothing about that. There is another issue, I don't have the money to keep traipsing back and forth to UEL from Hammersmith (it costs £7 a time). I am also forced to take work as a cycling instructor and I cannot afford to take time off work. I'm not sure that I have either the time or the patience to chat with Prof Joughin. He's made up his mind and SHSS is going to close. You can make an appointment by all means but, given his presentation on Monday, he won't want to hear what I have to say.
All the best,

Buddy

Two words spring to mind about this consultation: railroaded and shafted. The consultation was sneaked through under the cover of darkness. Students were only given three weeks to comment. The survey was an exercise in pointless number-crunching. Of course, no one was going to be happy with the changes. We could have told you that. So why bother? This is typical management behaviour.

Education is not a commodity.

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Filed under Cuts, Education, Government & politics, Higher Education, London, Society & culture

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