Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Education under attack at Strathclyde University

Senior management at Strathclyde university have voted to scrap degree courses in community education, sociology, geography and music. The final decision was taken in the universities ruling court, which has minimal student representation, on Tuesday 28 June.

The decision comes after weeks of protest by staff, independent academics and students. The night before the ruling students and staff occupied the 5 level of the Graham Hills building, which is home to the sociology and georgraphy departments, and on the day of the decision held a non stop picket of the Collins Gallery where the court was sitting.

Ruari Sutherland, third year sociology and geography student at Strathclyde, was present throughout the weeks of protest and spoke to No Cuts, Full Stop! in the occupation after the cuts were passed. He stated that the future campaign would have two fronts the first would be to overturn the senate's decision and argue for the courses to be reinstated and improved. Failing that the students and staff could look at the possibility of a 'no confidence vote in university management'.

In reference to the 80million project underway to make the university a 'centre of technical excellence', dealing in areas such as the defence (really the attack) industry, he stated; 'the management say it's about vision and research but we know it's really about making money'.

Importantly the students also had an awareness of the need to oppose all cuts both 'inside and outside the university' highlighting that it was the most vulnerable that were being made to pay the most; 'the carers fighting to save the accord centre in Dalmarnock and community education students have the common concern of trying to help and defend those most vulnerable and yet both are being attacked'.

The courses will be phased out in the coming terms which will allow current students to complete their degrees; a move clearly aimed to passify and limit dissent. The immediate consequences will see the loss of upto twenty-five jobs from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences which could save the university £750,000 (The Herald, 29 June, 2011). Future generations of students will miss out on the chance of studying in these areas of education. No amount of money saved can make up for that!

It is no coincidence that management chose to push through these cuts at the end of term; students had exams on and many have left for the summer break. These cowards will have to be fought when the university term begins again in August/September time. 

Defend Education! Oppose the cuts!