Universities

Workers' Liberty students

Student activists in Workers' Liberty argue for working class socialist ideas and campaign on issues like freedom of movement, anti-racism, workers' rights, international solidarity and free movement. Usually, every Monday from 6-7pm, Workers' Liberty Students hold informal online political discussions on a wide range of topics with the emphasis on current and relevant struggles. Summer term programme will run from 26 April 2021. Summer term programme will ve: • Monday 10 May: What lefty students should do when they graduate • Monday 17 May: How to fight sexism • Monday 24 May: Solidarity with...

Do not "defend David Miller"

Alex Callinicos’s defence in Socialist Worker of David Miller, the academic recently sacked from his job at the University of Bristol, poses the matter as one of “academic freedom”, in which not only academic freedom, but Miller himself, must be “defended”. Callinicos is right that there are questions of academic freedom involved. There have long been demands that Miller should be sacked for his views on Israel and Zionism — and, from some, that he should be sacked for his views on Syria, as he is a prominent apologist for Assad regime and has promoted denialist conspiracy theories about that...

Goldsmiths: open the books!

Using the slogan #OpenTheBooks, Goldsmiths Student Union and UCU (University and College Union) organised a joint demonstration on Monday 11 October, as representatives of Goldsmiths management met Lloyds and NatWest to discuss the College’s loans. The banks demanded job cuts as a condition of a loan, and Goldsmiths pledged to hand over all its assets if the university defaults. It’s a terrible deal and it is one for which staff and students will pay for many years, if we don’t beat these cuts. The UCU and the student union are demanding to know just how much profit the banks are making from...

UCU victory in Liverpool

Liverpool UCU has announced: “The Liverpool branch of the UCU (University and College Union) representing higher education staff at the University of Liverpool (UoL) last week called off their months-long industrial action, having saved dozens of jobs from compulsory redundancy. “In January, university management announced that 47 staff would be made redundant as part of reorganisation plans in the health and life sciences faculty (through the so-called ‘Project SHAPE’). However, the local UCU branch’s sustained action stopped all compulsory redundancies and won major increases in severance...

David Miller and Bristol University

David Miller was sacked on 1 October from his academic job at Bristol University. The tight-lipped university statement explicitly refused to give details, but said that in light of the University’s “duty of care to all students”, “Professor Miller did not meet the standards of behaviour we expect from our staff”. Miller is appealing, but has given no details either, claiming only that “Israel’s assets in the UK have been emboldened by the university collaborating with them to shut down teaching about Islamophobia. The University of Bristol is no longer safe for Muslim, Arab or Palestinian...

University workers fight for jobs and conditions

On 4-5 October, workers at the Royal College of Art struck in support of their long running campaign against casualised working conditions. 90% of staff are employed on “zero hours” and other forms of insecure contracts — the highest percentage of such employment in UK Higher Education. Strikes are scheduled for the next three weeks . RCA strikers will take heart from the important recent win at Open University, where 4,000 Associate Lecturers won significant improvements in their (fixed-term) contracts, including a pay rise and payments for all work. At Goldsmiths in south London, staff are...

Sheffield Archaeology: a cut with a "global impact"

A student involved with the Sheffield University Save Archaeology Campaign spoke to us. Back in February, a few students were emailed, asking us to attend an “informal chat” with the Deputy Vice Chancellor. Only a few of us were chosen and around a dozen or more of us turned up. She asked us for negative views as well as positive views about the department – she only received positive views. At a follow-up meeting, the Deputy VC laid out the conclusions from this “consultation”: they would close the Department of Archaeology and move two of its “areas of strength” into other departments. These...

Students mobilise on Palestine

The student union at SOAS university in London joined the Palestinian call for a strike on 18 May, and finished the week with a campus vigil for lives lost to colonial violence. London students went on to join the internationalist bloc at the Palestine demo in London on Saturday, connecting struggles from Colombia, Ethiopia and Palestine as a common struggle against oppression and state violence. Apartheid off Campus, a student campaign group, has called a day of action for Friday 28 May: “a call for students to unite for BDS”. The student union at SOAS university in London voted to reaffirm...

Make solidarity without antisemitism

Many students at UK universities have rightly responded to the escalation of violence in Israel-Palestine by mobilising in support of the Palestinians. In some places there are campaigns to get universities to stop investing in companies that financially back Israeli military industries. We hope Palestinian solidarity campaigning continues beyond the ceasefire, and that university divestment campaigns succeed. At the same time we continue to criticise the blanket boycott policies which dominate on campuses (including academic boycotts), with their implicit backing for a “one state” outcome in...

Two occupations end, student protests continue

The student occupations at Sheffield Hallam and Manchester Universities have ended, due to heavy-handed attempts by university management to criminalise the protests, and a refusal to engage with their demands. The students leave with their heads held high, however, as their three week long protest has demonstrated how to militantly oppose the marketised higher education system. The fact that universities still remain able to resist these immediate demands does not deter students from promising to continue with radical tactics. The campaigns that have emerged around fee and rent strikes this...

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