Archive for Sussex

Cuts at the University of Kent

I was informed from a close friend that there is due to be cuts at the University of Kent. The department in question is reportedly bio-sciences, whilst this is unconfirmed, and there may indeed be further cuts to other departments, the whole thing is propostuous.

How can top-quality, higher education be guaranteed when vice-chancellors and others are prepared to take the knife to lecturers and staff?

How can they justify doing this when they are so intent on making university the default choice for almost every young person?

How can they expect students to pay more for their education, yet have less staff members, less contact time with their lecturers and seminar leaders and less of a quality education?

I will post more information as I get it, but I think Kent might need a bit of the Sussex flavour, if you get what I mean.

Update: I have received an email with a bit more background to the story, please be aware that I have crossed out any reference to personal information.

It appears that the first ‘phase’ of redundancies has been amongst people who should now be considered ‘permanent’ workers but who the university is making out  to be ‘fixed term’ workers reliant on funding contracts. There also seems to have been a practice of approaching people individually in the ‘first’ phase, obviously making it a lot harder for people to guage support and contest any redundancy selection process on a more collective basis.

In addition, there is a refusal on the part of university human resources staff to understand the gender implications of targeting non- professorial and/or teaching staff in a department which appears to have an extremely poor record of promoting and retaining women.

After XX years working in Biosciences, X has been subject to an extremely problematic redundancy selection procedure and faces being out of work very soon. This is in advance of the current proposed redundancies.

X will therefore be raising at the meeting:

1. The issue of which groups of people (women, previous fixed term workers, older people) are more likely to be targeted in this, and other, university redundancy selection processes and the political and  legal implications of these practices. (To make it clear: I am  against all forced redundancies);

2. The fact that these redundancies have been preceded by  a strategic ‘picking off’ of certain members of staff. For this reason, we need to adopt a more critical analysis of how job losses are being pursued in  the university. It’s not always the case that people are told  that they are part of a redundancy ‘at risk’ list. In fact, we need  to be  aware of those who are left to fight individual redundancies and support these people just as effectively.

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New statement from the University of Sussex student occupation

“On the 8th of February 2010 over one hundred Sussex students entered and occupied the corporate conference centre in Bramber House as a display of support and solidarity for the UCU’s upcoming strike ballot. Furthermore, we stand in solidarity with all other workers at Sussex taking action against the cuts.

In a rally held yesterday we raised over £250 towards the strike fund and urge all those who value the work of staff to contribute further.

We strongly oppose the cuts and lack of meaningful consultation that management has offered students and staff.

This action is only the beginning and it is part of the wider campaign against management’s cuts at Sussex. We intend to continue to bring the fight to management.

We acknowledge that Sussex is not the only university being affected by cuts to public spending and that this is not only a national phenomenon but is affecting public spending and education internationally. We would like to express our solidarity with everyone fighting cuts all over the world.”

Check out their campaign site here and keep the twitter thread.

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Sussex students occupy university over cuts

Today, students from the University of Sussex, have occupied the conference centre over drastic cuts, both locally and nationally.

Here is their statement:

We have occupied the top floor of Bramber House, University of Sussex, Brighton. There are 106 of us.

The decision to occupy has been taken after weeks of concerted campaigning during which the university management have repeatedly failed to take away the threat of compulsory redundancies and course cuts.

We recognise that an attack on education workers is an attack on us.

The room we have occupied is not a lecture theatre but a conference centre. As such, we are not disrupting the education of our fellow students; rather, we are disrupting a key part of management’s strategy to run the university as a profitable business.

They’re occupying everywhere in waves across California, New York, Greece, Croatia, Germany and Austria and elsewhere – and not only in the universities. We send greetings of solidarity and cheerful grins to all those occupation movements and everyone else fighting the pay cuts, cuts in services and jobs which will multiply everywhere as bosses and states try and pull out of the crisis.

But we are the crisis.

Profitability doesn’t make matter for shit against the livelihoods destroyed, lost homes, austerity measures, green or otherwise. We just heard we’ve increased ‘operational costs’ – they’d set out the building for a meeting and now they’ll have to do it again

We’ll show them “operational costs.”

Occupy again and again and again.



-All the occupiers of the 8th of February.

You can follow the action here. And on twitter.

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