HUNDREDS of students and lecturers demonstrated outside the meeting of the Board of Governors of London Metropolitan University on Tuesday night, demanding: ‘RESIGN NOW!’
Calling the demonstration, the UCU warned: ‘This is now a matter of survival – the government has threatened to close London Metropolitan University if they don’t go.
‘Bring banners, placards, tell everyone you know to leave work/lectures early – this is our university, we value it highly, and they’ve got to go.
‘They’ve done enough damage already, it’s time for a Fresh start for London Met!’
The UCU call was answered by hundreds of students, lecturers and supporters.
At the loud and lively demonstration, Mark Campbell, Chairman of London Met UCU branch, told News Line: ‘We’ve organised this demonstration jointly with the NUS to demand that the current board resigns and the Executive Management group that the board has supported all along also resigns.
‘The reason is that the financial mess that the university finds itself in, whereby it is having to pay £36.5 million to the HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England) is their fault.
‘The executive’s current plan is to get rid of 550 front line staff.
‘We say it’s the management and bonus culture that’s got to go.
‘We’ve got 2,400 staff and 30,000 students. Management want to cut the staff by a quarter. This would be the destruction of a working class university.’
Aviation student Fardin Maqsudi said: ‘We have to protest. They are threatening to destroy our course.
Basically, they’ve already got rid of one of our main teachers. We all support the lecturers and their campaign.
‘The London Met management should go. We are training for a future in aviation and we also support the Heathrow workers who are going to go on strike.’
Fellow London Met student Ashfaq Shaikh said: ‘We’re doing aviation and if they take this course down it will ruin our career.
‘I want to be a pilot and I support the lecturers and the BA workers at Heathrow.
‘We are fighting to defend education and jobs. This is the only London university doing aviation.’
Hassan Haque added: ‘If our course here closes they might send us to Bournemouth.
‘We are right to unite with the lecturers and defend education. If they sack the lecturers it would destroy the university.
‘I want to know why the management isn’t sent to prison for what they are doing. I live in Enfield and I went on a march to save Chase Farm Hospital last year.
‘We have to fight to defend health and education.’
Events, Music and Media Management student, Linda Collins said: ‘If they (the managers and board of governors) don’t step down we’re going to lose our education.
‘These lecturers’ jobs must be saved and the students’ future as well.
‘35,000 students’ futures are at stake.’
Politics and International Development student, Emily Beardsmore, said: ‘The reports clearly show that the university managers have failed and for the governors to be still in place is unacceptable.
‘The impact of sacking lecturers will be astronomical. The governors must go.’
UCU member and Fine Arts lecturer, Veronica Diesen, said: ‘The reports reveal that the board of governors and management are entirely responsible for the £46 million gap.
‘They are responsible for the situation and because of that they should resign.
‘No-one – not the lecturers, students, government, HEFCE, nobody – has any confidence in them any longer.’
The demonstrators handed in a petition, stating: ‘Your ultimatum has expired.
‘Resign now! We, the undersigned staff and students of London Met, note with growing impatience that HEFCE (the universities’ funding body) following the Melville-Deloitte enquiry, took the unprecedented step of stating their lack of confidence in the Board of Governors and demanding their resignation, together with the Executive Team members responsible for the ruinous financial mismanagement of the university.
‘The Students’ Union Executive believes that students at London Metropolitan University are integral stakeholders to the current financial crises and associated problems, thus should be party to the consultation on a way forward.
‘Most importantly, students must be given the right to have their say.
‘The Students’ Union Executive presses for transparency and consultation in the decision-making process and want to work together for a target of sustained development rather than avoiding insolvency.
‘We demand that the call to resign is heeded without any further delay.’