Student Occupation at London Met – Demo Call Out

May 12, 2009

From the Save London Met Campaign/the BBC:

Students have staged a sit-in protest at London’s largest university over plans that could see 550 jobs axed.

Some 30 students have occupied London Metropolitan University’s (LMU) Commercial Road campus in Whitechapel, east London.

LMU is being forced to repay some £50m after auditors found drop-out rates were higher than stated – it has been overpaid by £15m a year since 2005.

Last week, lecturers took strike action over the funding issue.

…Union leaders said the trigger to strike action was a “poorly thought through” redundancy scheme announced by managers in the middle of talks.

Amy Jameson, a furniture design student, said she hoped the current protest would be a lengthy one.

“We’re intending the sit-in to go on for as long as it takes the management to listen to us and start communicating and negotiating with us.”

She added: “Up until this point, we’ve engaged in no direct communication with the management. They’re not really willing to consider any kind of alternative proposals that have been put forward to them.”

The university has more than 34,000 students on its register and 4,612 members of staff.

And a statement from staff:

Students in the Sir John Cass Department of Art, Media and Design have occupied rooms in Commercial Rd in protest at the proposed cuts to staff. We understand that they are demanding that Management drop the proposals to make staff redundant and that managers come to explain to students what is happening.

It is encouraging to find such levels of support among our students and to see them so active in defence of education. We sympathise with their frustration and with the sense that management will not listen to any arguments, however well reasoned or constructive.

Rumour has it that, unlike all the other universities occupied earlier this year, London Metropolitan will not allow this to run its course and that management is taking the students to court to regain possession of the coffee bar. No classes are being disrupted as far as we know.

We are therefore calling for a brief demonstration outside Commercial Road at 5.30 today. Please come and show students that solidarity works both ways!

Details here

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