United We Stand: Staff and students can work together
March 3, 2010 1 Comment
The student occupation at the University of Westminster is now in its 3rd day, and students will be protesting today at UCL and UEA too. In this report Hannah Besford writes about how students have taken the initiative in Portsmouth:
Portsmouth University has begun a fight back against the cuts set to destroy higher education. Meetings began in December to begin to create a staff-student voice against the cuts and increasing threat of elitism within education. Portsmouth currently faces 5% percent cuts across the board, with at least 4 courses set to close and up to 100 voluntary redundancies so far.
We fear this is just the beginning, and are trying to build a mass campaign, contacting staff, students and unions (UNISON and UCU). By the 24th February this culminated in a 100-strong rally, with speakers from UCU, a lecturer from the cuts-affected Art department, a sabbatical officer of the Students Union, a speaker from a recent occupation at Sussex University, and a representative from TUSC, the left electoral alternative.
This is a fight at the national level. Successes at Tower Hamlets College and Leeds University have given confidence to staff and students here in Portsmouth, and there is a definite mood for action. We did a collection for Leeds UCU’s fighting fund at the rally, and intend to protest in solidarity with Sussex UCU when they (hopefully) take strike action later this month.