Sussex students suspended for protesting

Discussion in 'Politics' started by D_Andreas Sukov, Mar 14, 2010.

  1. D_Andreas Sukov

    D_Andreas Sukov Account Disabled

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    Messages:
    2,933
    Likes Received:
    3
    BBC News - Sussex university students suspended after protest

    Ill post the BBC article which doesnt give the full story but its the most credible source that you guys will believe.

    6 Sussex students, Dubbed the Sussex 6, were suspended for occupying a building at the Uni in responce to 115, possibly more to be announced, jobs.

    The students have had a massive anti cuts movement and the 6 that were arrested were not perpentrators of any crime. They are simply seen as the ringleaders. The 6 were the students that have led protests.

    The suspension comes without any official reasoning and not one diciplinary hearing. The suspension lats 31 days and can be renewed at the Vice Chancellor's descretion.

    In the several occupations that have been going on in Sussex, none have been threatening to staff. On said occupation, it was the VC that got people to lock the doors and not let staff out. The students asked them to leave if they wanted or join in solidarity.

    In Peaceful protests since the suspension, police have attacked protesters with CD gas, batons and dogs. This goes exactly against what the VC said.

    YouTube - Riot Police at Sussex University
    YouTube - Riot Police at Sussex University
    YouTube - Riot Police at Sussex University

    I have spoken to some of the 6 that have been suspended, and i know people that know them very well, and they are not the sort of people to get violent towards police and would never threaten staff, esecially seeing as they are asking for student-staff solidarity.

    Sussex have a blog here Stop the Cuts – Defend Sussex which has more info.
     
  2. B_starinvestor

    B_starinvestor New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2006
    Messages:
    4,409
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Midwest
    Where do the protestors suggest that the institution get the money to pay for the cost of said faculty?

    They are out of money. Perhaps the students could all kick in enough extra money to keep the faculty fully staffed.
     
  3. D_Andreas Sukov

    D_Andreas Sukov Account Disabled

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    Messages:
    2,933
    Likes Received:
    3
    The uni is using a plan by some academics. Others have been proposed with few redundencies and will work within the financial constraints the uni has. However these have been rejected.

    The uni is not as financially strapped as they would have you believe. This is part of the governments cut back on education spending. Why? Because we had to bail out bankers. But thats another thread.

    Do you not have any view on what happened? Or are all you thoughts purely financial?
     
  4. B_starinvestor

    B_starinvestor New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2006
    Messages:
    4,409
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Midwest
    The banks are where students/parents borrow money to pay for tuition. Had the banks not been bailed out, Sussex would be in even deeper trouble.

    I think it is a travesty that faculty members were let go. Nobody wins in such a scenario.

    But if there is no money, there is no money. Protesting will accomplish nothing in this particular event.
     
  5. D_Andreas Sukov

    D_Andreas Sukov Account Disabled

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    Messages:
    2,933
    Likes Received:
    3
    Protesting does acomplish something. Its part of much wider campaigns, such as another education is possible. Its making universities far more political then they have been in years, which is really important.

    It is an inspiration to other students and workers to fight for their jobs.

    The reaction the Uni has given tells me that they are scared of the students. They are scared that they are going to have to do something they dont want. Such as cut the managements huge wage. The VC in sussex earns more than the PM!
     
  6. Jason

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2004
    Messages:
    9,922
    Likes Received:
    639
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    London (GB)
    All UK universities (except Buckingham, the one private Uni) receive the majority of their income from the government. For many there is hardly any income which isn't from the government. All UK universities have the lion's share of their expenditure in staff costs. This is both the staff salaries, and the office space etcetera that is linked to the staff.

    The UK government is making enormous cuts in the funding to Universities. This is hitting all (slightly less dramatic in Scotland and NI). All are making cuts - Sussex is a bit ahead of some in actually announcing the level of the cuts. In part Sussex is early because it is putting a lot of effort into a voluntary redundancy scheme.

    The present level is 115 academic jobs to be cut at Sussex. However Sussex does have plans to make more cuts and will almost certainly have to make them. They are looking at perhaps 200-300 job cuts. This sort of level of cut will be happening across UK universities. The number of UK academic jobs at threat over the next 18 months is about 7,000. There are also support staff jobs being cut. There have been suggestions from the Union and elsewhere that somehow the cuts can be made without cutting jobs. All these schemes involve finding a way to continue to pay the salaries for another year or so (eg by selling estate, diverting research funding to salaries, cancelling lab upgrades). As there is no prospect whatsoever of a better financial environment in another year these schemes are worthless. They would cause enormous damage to provide jobs for another year - then the cuts would still have to be made.

    The reality is that Labour have inflicted enormous damage on UK universities. When they came to power there was free university education for all plus grants for living costs, many getting 100%. Now there are fees, loans, debts, and now Labour is destroying the whole quality of UK universities by staff cuts.

    The Sussex decision to discipline the students seems harsh to me. I would have thought ignore them! Their protest can achieve nothing. Sussex - and all UK Unis - must make the staffing cuts because this is the policy of Labour.

    Labour has destroyed free access to universities, created a barrier to social mobility not seen since the 1950s, shown contempt for the present generation of students, particularly those who are less well off. What can Sussex Uni do? What can any Uni do? What can their students do?
     
  7. D_Andreas Sukov

    D_Andreas Sukov Account Disabled

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    Messages:
    2,933
    Likes Received:
    3
    Expect to see a national lecturer strike. Some lecturers i have spoken to expect it, but as of yet nothing is being discussed bar smaller actions such as the votes to strike at sussex and leeds, both of which passed.
     
  8. McMM12345

    McMM12345 Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2008
    Messages:
    299
    Albums:
    2
    Likes Received:
    23
    Gender:
    Male
    Since I am at Sussex I can say that although I do not agree with the management skipping due process, the protesters (overall - not the Sussex Six) brought this upon themselves by a) looting confidential files and making people scared enough to lock themselves into a room and b) going full pelt at police officers.

    Before you decide to question this, I've seen it first hand.
     
  9. Jason

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2004
    Messages:
    9,922
    Likes Received:
    639
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    London (GB)
    I don't have Uni Sussex figures to hand, but management salaries at UK unis are way below those at US universities and way below management of a comparable organisation in the private sector. Typically there will be a VC on £100-£150k, a couple of pro VCs at around £100k and maybe 6 or 8 deans at £70k. Total management salary bill way under 1m. And anyway deans also teach and research (and even some VCs and proVCs) so much of this bill isn't strictly management, and lots of them bring in research money which covers their salary anyway. Realistically you would struggle to shave £100k from the bill and while perhaps this should be done it is not an answer. The academic salaries cut will be 115 x £40k to £50k - say £5m per year. Rising to perhaps £12m-15m if job cuts are higher. There will be linked savings in estate (less staff space, less classes). I've made no effort to look at actual fiigures for Sussex, but it loks as if they are trying for savings around £8m pa now rising to over £20m pa when the next lot of cuts go through. This is in line with government requirements and is the present government's goodbye present to universities. :frown1:
     
  10. Jason

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2004
    Messages:
    9,922
    Likes Received:
    639
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    London (GB)
    If lecturers strike for a day the students think it is an extra holiday. If for a week the lecturers organise extra classes for students to catch up (mostly unofficial, but it happens). The only strike that would work is to with-hold exam marking so that the university cannot award degrees. The universities would see this as cause to sack lecturers and would follow through on this. And the ones who are hurt are the students.

    It is a miserable position. We shouldn't be here! The reality is we have a state-funded university system and it cannot change overnight to privately funded. What the government has done is truly shocking. We may well get strikes, even marks withheld, but it won't actually change a thing unless there is someone else in 10 Downing Street.
     
  11. D_Andreas Sukov

    D_Andreas Sukov Account Disabled

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    Messages:
    2,933
    Likes Received:
    3
    In what way did chanting make people scared? They are looking to unite lecturers and Students. Why would they be frightening them?
     
  12. D_Andreas Sukov

    D_Andreas Sukov Account Disabled

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    Messages:
    2,933
    Likes Received:
    3
    I do not want a privately funded university system. It will be the worst thing to happen to education in years. Do you honestly think that the Tories or the Lib Dems will do anything different? If you do, you are letting yourself down.
     
  13. Jason

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2004
    Messages:
    9,922
    Likes Received:
    639
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    London (GB)

    This explains a lot. Actually the Uni won't be all that bothered about the files (with freedom of information not all that much is truly confidential anyway, and there is unlikely to be anything that will actually hurt the uni). Nor are they going to be bothered about staff being scared (bet the VC wishes he could do this!) The problem is some sort of confrontation with the police. The Uni has to show it is taking the matter seriously.

    Exclusion for a while won't hurt the students all that much, so maybe it is measured.
     
  14. McMM12345

    McMM12345 Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2008
    Messages:
    299
    Albums:
    2
    Likes Received:
    23
    Gender:
    Male
    While the majority of protesters are just protesting for their own beliefs, which is perfectly fine with me I don't support the cuts (I just acknowledge that cuts of some form are necessary) however in nearly every demonstration thus far there have been a group of 'tag-alongs' who are just there to cause trouble or to quote one I know they go there 'for the thrill of it' and that group is getting gradually larger.

    I personally think the Sussex Six case is an embarrassment as due process was not followed (and is not being followed with the 'deal' they've been offered) irrespective of whether they did or did not do anything (I personally don't know in the case of the six). However, until the Stop the Cuts movement speaks out against people who escalate protests from peaceful demonstrations into open free-for-all's then the police are going to get called and when offices are ransacked and this is what's going to happen.

    Put plainly: the protesters need to sort their shit out and regulate themselves better.
     
  15. D_Andreas Sukov

    D_Andreas Sukov Account Disabled

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    Messages:
    2,933
    Likes Received:
    3
    The actual defend sussex group have got their shit sorted out. They are incredibly democratic with their procedures. I know someone going to their teach in tomorrow( i was going to go) ill mention it to them.
     
  16. Jason

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2004
    Messages:
    9,922
    Likes Received:
    639
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    London (GB)
    Reading Uni is in the spotlight tonight, with staff cuts. We are going to have lots more cuts announced soon by individual universities. The cuts to universities are around £1billion. This is something like £10m pa for a university of average size.

    The Labour solution - as articulated by Lord Mandelson - is that universities should fill the funding gap through other activities. Universities have been trying to do this for more than a decade and it is very hard to see how they can now suddenly find a new income stream. Rather we are seeing a drift towards privatisation. A big part of the pain is likely to be carried by students who will pay far higher academic fees. Remember when Labour gained power 13 years ago we had free university education with good availability of places and most students had some sort of grant, many 100%. It is Labour that have taken away free university education in a move which has greatly decreased social mobility and created a new poverty trap for those from lower income families.

    The Conservatives say they are putting an emphasis on funding universities (and FE, and skills development for school leavers) as set out on their website. The inevitable question is where are they going to get the money from? I suggest the example of Germany provides an answer. The fiscal stimulus in Germany has specifically benefitted universities (and retraining, and skills development). It was targetted in these areas (rather than in a VAT cut). I think it is possible for the Conservatives to deliver in this area - though I would like to see a much clearer policy statement and information about funding. In fact this government's £1bn saving which causes maybe 7,000-10,000 job losses plus damage to our students and universities is of dubious value in reducing costs. It might even cost more than the $1bn "saving". If you want an example of a government policy that needs to be revered then this is it.

    The problem is that a May election leads to a late June budget (if Conservatives are in, and probably if they are not also) which is really too late for the 2010-2011 academic funding settlement. Sussex - and all the universities - are in a ghastly position in that they do have to make cuts. And of course their will be lots of incidents. I don't know the rights and wrongs of the Brighton six, but I'm sure they are not going to be the last casualties.
     
  17. superbot

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2006
    Messages:
    1,440
    Likes Received:
    53
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Great Britain
    ALL students are a pain in the arse!!
     
  18. Joll

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Messages:
    14,509
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    722
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Wales (GB)
    I'm glad students are getting a lot more political again - I think it's a good thing. Pity it didn't happen soon enough to get people alerted to issues like the EU/UK relationship, Labour's subverting of the constitution, politicisation of the justice system, and foreign takeovers of key UK companies, but anyway...

    I think things get out of hand sometimes - and you have to learn where to draw the line. I'm generally in favour of a bit of protest - as long as there's a viable alternative to put forward, and not just a complaint against something that can't be changed.

    The Uni cuts do sound damaging, so I hope there's a way round it, that's more acceptable.
     
  19. midlifebear

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2007
    Messages:
    5,908
    Likes Received:
    11
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Nevada, Buenos Aires, and Barçelona
    Students getting political again? I'm thrilled to see that happening, too. However, didn't the public university system supported by the UK Government (I assume that's how it works) provide for some emergency 5-year plan for downturns in the economy?

    As much as I like to dis Texas, they have provided a means to provide public education with deep pockets even during the worst economic times. That's not to say they aren't opposed to hire freezings and staff cutbacks. But one thing is paramount, educators make more than staff. All administrators are also (usually) full-time faculty.
     
  20. D_Andreas Sukov

    D_Andreas Sukov Account Disabled

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    Messages:
    2,933
    Likes Received:
    3
    In my university, and those that people i have spoken to attend, the administrators are not educators. They may have been at one point, but are now "full-time" management.
     
Draft saved Draft deleted