Callum Joyce, Oxford Socialist Party
Over 100 people, staff and students, protested at Oxford Brookes University because close to 50 lecturers are being made redundant. The redundancies affect 11 different departments, with management threatening to completely close the music and maths departments.
Many students spoke passionately at the demonstration, outlining the support they have received from many of their lecturers over the course of their degress. Management claims that redundancies must be made due to financial restrictions, while the vice-chancellor is paid over £250,000 a year.
I was able to speak on behalf of the Socialist Party, raising the need for the university finances to be subject to inspection by democratically elected representatives of students and staff, through their trade unions.
I also explained that there needs to be a broader fight to change the funding model for universities. Scrapping tuition fees and replacing them with proper government funding would ensure all students could receive a free, high-quality education, and that enough staff can be hired at a decent rate of pay.
University and College Union (UCU) members at Brookes overwhelmingly passed a motion at a recent meeting declaring that they would be willing to take industrial action against the redundancies. Members should be balloted as soon as possible to allow them to go on strike.
This must be linked with a broader campaign involving students as well, which Socialist Party and Socialist Students members will be help build.