Socialist Worker

Students occupy to halt campus closure at the Cass

by Nick Clark
Issue No. 2484

The occupied building in east London

The occupied building in east London (Pic: Socialist Worker)


Students at the Cass Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design in east London occupied a university gallery space on Wednesday of last week.

They are demanding that London Metropolitan University bosses scrap plans to close the campus.

Management wants to sell the City Campus in east London and merge it with the north London campus. This would see courses closed and jobs cut.

The London Met UCU and Unison union branches held an emergency protest outside the occupation on Thursday of last week.

Mark Campbell, UCU branch chair, pledged “100 percent support” for the students against the bosses’ attack.

He said the branch was “moving to a strike ballot” over the plans.

Mark added, “They’re going to be cutting staff and squeezing us into ever smaller spaces—and they’re saying it’s all about student experience.

“There’s only one word for that—bullshit.”

Financial

The planned closures come after a period of financial problems for the university. Bosses hope to raise £50 million by selling off university buildings.

But they have since admitted that they have now cleared a £30 million debt, meaning the university is now debt free.

Management have also suspended Robert Mull as dean of the Cass for opposing the plans.

Supporters held at protest at the university’s Holloway Road campus in north London on Monday of this week to demand Mull’s reinstatement.

Meanwhile, the occupiers need all the support they can get to keep going.

Amanda Marrillier from the student union told Socialist Worker, “They’re allowed to get out, but they can’t get back in.

“There’s a letterbox to the outside which people have been passing supplies through.

“And the toilet is on the outside of the room, so they’re having to use a bucket with sawdust.”

Supporters were set to hold a performance outside the occupied gallery on Wednesday evening in solidarity.

Take supplies to The Cass Central Building, E1 7PF. Send solidarity messages to @occupythecass on twitter or Occupy Cass—London Met on Facebook

If you enjoy Socialist Worker, please consider giving to our annual appeal to make sure we can maintain and develop our online and print versions of Socialist Worker. Go here for details and to donate.

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.