Thursday, 2 June 2011

Strathclyde staff and students fight back!

The fight to defend education jobs and services at Strathclyde University is growing.
Management at the university propose to end degree courses in sociology, geography, music and community education with a final decision to be made on June 28. The future of the Ramshorn Theatre and Collins Gallery is also uncertain bringing drama and art subjects into the firing line.
On Thursday 2 June students, staff and members of the public gathered in opposition to these attacks on education.
Among the crowd were community education students Siobhan Devine and Fiona Upton who spoke about the vital role and long and proud history of their course;
'Every year our course is oversubscribed and it has been running for over one hundred years. Students of community education are put on placements in working class areas providing support for the most vulnerable people including the disabled, unemployed, ex-prisoners, elderly and young people. To scrap our course would be a blow to Glasgow's communities as well as the students and staff of the course.'
Indeed, so far the blows have come thick and fast with upto three hundred and fifty members of staff at the university leaving on a voluntary redundancy scheme which closed last year. One hundred more jobs are to be cut over 2011/12 with further redundancies for people on short term contracts. Under the current proposal twenty five additional jobs could be lost.
For all the talk of austerity Principal Jim McDonald continues to reep a salary in the region of £232,000 (The Daily Express, 6 February 2010). In an email sent to students during protests at the university over the winter this crook stated;
the teaching budget for 2011/12 does not stretch far enough to maintain the number of fully-funded places. Cuts at the current proposed levels cannot be sustained beyond next year’.
In other words much deeper cuts lie ahead. Meanwhile the plan to open a new technology centre at the university (costing £89m) by 2013 to ‘attract millions of pounds of inward investment’ and to ‘drive global businesses’ goes on.
The university management are determined to sacrifice education jobs and services for personal gain and prestige. They did not hesitate to call the police on staff and students this time and will do so again whenever our protests are effective. We must be ten times as determined to defend and expand the right to a good education!
For a full report of the days protest see:
Defend education, fight back now!

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