Building Bangor Socialist Students to fight the campus cuts

Michelle (centre), photo Young Socialists

Michelle (centre), photo Young Socialists   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Michelle Francis, Bangor Socialist students

Since arriving at Bangor University in September I have been busy setting up a Socialist Students society. We now have ten other students in our society and three locals who are interested too.

It has been difficult to make people aware that we exist, due to coronavirus restrictions. And campus bosses have ordered us to take down all of our posters; not that it stops us putting more back up!

Now, Bangor University has announced cuts to staff. University management was trying to sweep these cuts under the carpet by making the documents hard to find. They planned a short consultation period in the hope that students wouldn’t have time to react.

But, thanks to all the work from members in Socialist Students, and the hard work from two, especially angry course reps, we have made some progress. The only way we could make all students aware of these cuts was via email, and as the whole system is heavily moderated, we had to be very sneaky.

Students are angry

Through some hard work we have been able to email almost every student at the university with details of the cuts, our demands and a link to a petition. Petitions must be discussed in the student council if they get over 500 votes. We got 500 signatures in under six hours, which shows students are angry!

The student council meeting was an uphill battle due to resistance from the students’ union leadership and officers. Although so many students signed in a short space of time to support a vote of no confidence in university management, the students’ union decided they didn’t want to voice that to management in case they risked their ‘special friendship’.

Despite the battle, we managed to get the students’ union to agree to demand to “extend the formal consultation period by one month, for the student body to conduct a meaningful consultation”. If this isn’t done, the students’ union resolved to reject the proposals and to support any staff industrial action that may occur.

Hopefully this will give confidence to staff organised in the union UCU, that if they threaten the university management with industrial action they will get support from students.