The Government’s huge cuts in university funding are rippling through, especially in the less posh universities which have no reserves or endowments and don’t think they can get students to pay £9000.
Liverpool Hope University is the first of the Merseyside institutions to send out redundancy notices — about 100 of them, 60 to teaching staff.
The Merseyside Network Against Fees and Cuts has been leafleting the campus and we’re finding that people who previously might have been resigned to the cuts are stirred up when it comes to the prospect of their module or their lecturer not being there next year.
The UCU is balloting and we’re preparing solidarity around that. The Hope Uni SU is organising a training day to teach students how to be part of the “big society”, and we’re organising a demonstration against that.
At Liverpool University we are standing a socialist anti-cuts candidate for the Guild [Student Union] presidency.
On Friday 18 February we passed a motion at our Union General Meeting at the London School of Economics (LSE) calling for a student strike on the day that lecturers strike, and to support UCU’s industrial action.
We’re hoping that other universities will back that too and give the UCU the confidence to go ahead. We’re mainly building for that right now.
Otherwise we’re pressuring the vice-chancellor to not increase fees. The departments of sociology, gender studies, anthropology, and geography have all called on management to not increase fees. We’re building for the academic board meeting on fees, aiming to pack that out with anti-fees lecturers.