Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/571/7056
Liverpool University: Stop the cuts!
OVER 250 students and lecturers belonging to the University and College Union (UCU) crammed outside the Liverpool University Senate building on Mount Pleasant to demonstrate their determined opposition to the proposed axing of Politics, Philosophy, Communications and Statistics departments.
The protest was organised at a grassroots level by the 'Save Our Subjects' group, composed of students worst affected by the proposed cuts.
The proposals were put forward by Sir Howard Newby, current vice-chancellor, who has undertaken similar swingeing cuts in his previous job as VC for the University of the West of England. It is claimed that these measures are in line with the findings of the 'RAE', a body which supposedly investigates the quality of research in different departments.
Effectively, the aforementioned departments are being told that they are not pulling their weight and must be expunged to give more funding to other subjects. Naturally, this would mean the staff of these departments would also be cut, at a time when a recession offers little chance of alternative employment.
This is a ridiculous measure, as the university has been one of the biggest earners in additional research funding, receiving £6.55 million in the last year.
Despite offering students already on the courses a continuation of them through to their end as a concession, students will not be best served by a woefully undercut and demoralised workforce.
Their degrees would count for less as they would be accredited by a 'failing' department. The staff at these departments certainly are not taking these attacks lying down and the UCU is prepared to ballot for strike action.
The protest proved to be successful, as it was later announced that the mandatory 'closure clause' of these departments had been removed. It's clear that the protest shook Newby's confidence, who apparently referred to the crowd outside as "the noise".
This demonstration goes to show that an organised fightback by students and teaching staff alike is the only way to prevent serious closures and further attacks on the right to education.
The Socialist Party was present at the demo and many students took interest in the 'Campaign to Defeat Fees' literature which we were giving out.
In The Socialist 19 March 2009:
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