Statement from the student occupation at Middlesex University
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.
Reports from a variety of colleges and universities updated as we receive more. Whether you’re an education worker, a student or neither, if you have a report from a picket line or demo post it here as a comment or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org (pictures also welcome!) Continue reading
Lecturers at four universities and eleven FE colleges will be on strike tomorrow (for the list see the UCU website) against cuts.
Demonstration in London – May 5
Assemble 1pm, King’s College London (The Strand)
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.”
By Jade Baker, University of Westminster SU VP Education-elect
Last week anti-cuts activists swept the board in our student union elections. All three candidates on the “Stop the cuts! Shake up YOUR union” slate were elected – Robin Law for President, Fatima Hagi for union Trustee and myself for VP Education. Leftie candidate Chris Jones was elected VP Communications.
Students at Leeds University have voted down a student union referendum on the following:
“Should LUU oppose industrial action on campus that negatively impacts on the education of students?”
– in other words, should it scab on lecturers?
The vote was 891 to 717. A Leeds student activists commented:
“I’m very happy that Leeds students voted to defend their own interests and those of staff, and didn’t violate the principle of unions by opposing another union.
“To LUU, I’d say that any move to oppose strike action would be against the interests and the wishes of your members.”
A story from the school sector that will interest many FE and HE activists, taken from Solidarity. Support the NUT!
Primary school head teachers, members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) will boycott the SATs tests due on 10-13 May.