1. That the Vice-Chancellor of this university publicly affirms a commitment to the protection and promotion of the public university. We suggest he starts by affiliating himself with the Campaign for the Public University or Council for the Defence of British Universities.

2. That the Vice-Chancellor relinquishes his unjustifiable pay increase, with the funds to be channeled into widening access. We suggest that a bursary is established for students from the local community.

3. That the university safeguards its staff, both academic and non-academic, against the government’s radical restructuring of higher education. This would include protection from staff losing their jobs, any further pay freezes or cuts, casual contracts, and outsourcing of contracts.

4. That the university must oppose the current lobbying by Russell Group representatives to abolish the tuition fee cap and reduce bursary commitments.

5. That the governance of the university should include greater and more diverse staff and student representation. To ensure this, a review that includes significant staff and student input should be initiated, so that existing asymmetries within the university’s governance may be rectified.

6.That the university resists the hollowing out of the public university through outsourcing to private companies, and remains the employer of all university staff. As a first step, university managers formerly employed by outsourcing giants, such as Serco, should have no involvement in decisions where there is potential for bias.

7. That the university recognises the legitimacy of our decision to hold this meeting in our university’s council chamber, and therefore no disciplinary or legal repercussions will ensue.

8.That the restricted access to the council chamber be lifted so that members of staff and students can be part of this dialogue.

Protect the Public University – Warwick is in constant session.

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  1. John West says:

    Keep up the good work. Most people are unaware of your message and of these trends.

  2. Alex says:

    A number of these objectives (particularly 2, 3, 6 and 7) infringe on points which are very complex, and don’t seem to follow as an especially logical or necessary consequence of either side of the debate. There are many things which are valuable to those involved (broadly and at Warwick specifically), and it is unreasonable to make demands which treat staff and students (of which I am one) as a body with homogeneous interests. This is especially important as PPU appears to act (in spirit) on their behalf. Of course unions can fail, but as institutions they are a more democratic method than a protest like PPU, which would advance objectives which do not (necessarily or de facto) represent the views of those they affect.

  3. Stephen Barrell says:

    Could you say something more specific about the points you mention Alex?

  4. Ralph says:

    I’m sorry, but 20 students occupying a room means very little, and the ‘demands’ you make above seem completely divorced from the world I and others inhabit.

    • Stephen Barrell says:

      If you are a student then the question of the integrity, fairness and sustainability of your university directly affects you: the transformation of students into customers by the new fee structure is driving universities to lower standards and drop less lucrative departments in the pursuit of income; the squeeze on living standards and casualisation of staff is damaging departments and driving down the quality of teaching; the diverting of large sums of public money to small numbers of private individuals and private service providers is straining resources you depend on and introducing the pursuit of profit into various aspects of your education; and the increasing exclusion of individuals from less privileged backgrounds is homogenising the voices, opinions and experiences that enter into your seminars.

      If you are a staff member then the question of the integrity, fairness, and sustainability of your university directly affects you: even if pay cuts, pay freezes, casualisation, and an absence of job security have not directly touched you yet, you will be working in an increasingly stressful and demoralised environment, and its only a matter of time before you also feel the pinch from a university that is quite able to disproportionately reward a VC who is presiding over a university that is slipping down the league tables, but is zealously searching out efficiencies elsewhere.

      If you are a taxpayer then the question of the integrity, fairness, and sustainability of the higher education system directly affects you: the massive mismanagement of the implementation of the new fee structure means that for at least the next twenty years you will be paying more for defaulted student loans than you ever did for the previous system, and in the meantime your money will buy less and less as universities close down all manner of departments and research projects in order to prioritise courses that attract a higher number of customers.

      Finally, if you are retired then the question of the integrity, fairness, and sustainability of the public sector in general directly affects you: as service providers succumb one after another to the logic of outsourcing and privatisation we are being driving at great speed towards a closed oligopoly in which the state is ever more dependent on Serco, Atos, G4s and A4e to sell it the services it needs at the prices they see fit (and if you romantically imagine that a ‘free’ market of this kind will throw up cheaper alternatives then you might want to take a look at your gas bill). You may well come to wonder why someone didn’t make more of a noise about the asset stripping of your country while you’re trying to figure out how your health insurance provider can get away with classifying your encroaching old age as a ‘pre-existing condition’.

      What is being fought for here may well ‘seem completely divorced from the world [you] and others inhabit,’ but if you pay just a little more attention to what’s going on under your nose right now you may well wish you’d signed that pre-nup. (You might begin by re-reading the title of the list you refer to as ‘demands’).

  5. Rich says:

    An extremely large amount of good luck and wishes are sent your way.
    Also, Stephen, you are blessed with great eloquence 🙂

  6. Pingback: University of Warwick Protest Begins | VIRALITY

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