Students are occupying London Metropolitan University against bosses’ plans to axe 70 percent of all the courses at the college.
The occupation started when 60 students took over the university’s shiny silver “Graduate Centre” at 4pm yesterday (Wednesday).
Today at lunchtime more than 100 students and workers demonstrated outside the occupation on Holloway Road to show their support.
“I love my course,” performing arts student Roxy Bugler told Socialist Worker. “The staff are so inspiring. But, without even asking, the management have said they’re going to get rid of it.
“Cutting courses means students aren’t given the chance to educate themselves. The university will just be business studies and accounting.
“They want to cut everything where you get to question the way things are. It breaks my heart.”
Courses set to disappear from the university include history, philosophy, trade union studies, Caribbean studies and performing arts.
Most of the humanities, arts, languages and education departments are under threat.
“This is an attack on the arts,” occupier Alex told the crowd. “They want to keep arts in the hands of the elite.”
He sang a song with the refrain “we’ve got to save our jobs and education”.
The students are demanding that the university retracts the cuts to all courses, that occupiers have a meeting with vice chancellor Malcolm Gillies and that students won’t be transferred out of the university.
They are also demanding no victimisations of occupiers and free access in and out of the occupation.
The university has stopped students joining the occupation or coming out for supplies.
Sara Awayez, welfare officer at London Met student union, told Socialist Worker that supporters would stay outside the occupation until they were allowed access.
“We’ve got food and everything here,” she said. “We want to get it inside.”
In the window, a student held up a sign that read, “They stopped our food supply”.
“We’re not going anywhere,” said Sara. “We’re going to be out here supporting them.”
The student union is calling an emergency meeting as soon as it can to give its official backing to the occupation.
Trade unionists at the university also turned out on the protest to show their support for the occupation.
Unison rep Alex Tarry said, “This is about the right of education for working class students. If the vice chancellor trashes these courses, what’s going to be left?”
Workers at the university have faced wave after wave of redundancies, with cuts going on now and a many more expected soon, Alex explained. “We are fighting in common with the students,” he said. “You’ve got to be on your guard here, ready to resist at all times.
“In a river you might have lots of tributaries and currents—but they’re all flowing in one direction.
“Industrial action, strikes, occupation, direct action: it’s all part of it. If we don’t do something they’ll trample all over us.”
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