Words of Support

I’m so impressed with your statement and objectives and it’s just fantastic that finally somebody is doing something about it!

Dr. Felicia Gottmann, Research Fellow, Department of History, University of Warwick

As an early career researcher, Warwick alumni and mother of two young children I fully support your fight to defend public university. There is nothing about the USA higher education system that we should wish to emulate.

Dr Samantha Lyle, Sociology and IATL

I fully support the PPU collective’s symbolic action, which is designed to draw attention to the devastating consequences of the encroaching marketisation of the university in the UK (and beyond).

Neil Lazarus, Professor, English and Comparative Literary Studies, University of Warwick

I wanted to send a brief note of support for all of your objectives, and for the personal and collective actions which you are undertaking on behalf of many others. Every act of resistance to the privatization and economization of education matters, and your reminder of E.P. Thompson’s words calls us all to account.

Dr. Sarah Amsler, Reader in Education, University of Lincoln

I write to you to express my solidarity and support for your struggle for the democratic, equal, public university, and against privatisation, its anathema. UCL is another university at the forefront of the neoliberalism in HE, and you have shown us the way.

I have put up an article on our website: http://uclu.org/articles/warwick-university-occupied-in-defence-of-public-university

Edwin Clifford-Coupe, Education & Campaigns Officer, University College London Union

Many, many congratulations! As someone who was involved in 4 occupations at Warwick when I was a student in the 1970s, I am overwhelmed with joy to hear that the spirit of resistance still lives on there! Solidarity.

Richard Bradbury

As a former Warwick student and now lecturer witnessing the disastrous consequences of HE cuts and fees, I have total respect and support for this action and the clear and reasonable set of demands the occupation has set out. In the wake of various occupations over the past few years, here’s hoping that this latest action at Warwick triggers a whole new round of resistance up and down the country. All best and solidarity!

Dr Nina Power, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, Roehampton University

I want to write to express my solidarity with you all.
You are making an important protest against the most serious threats to higher education.
Your statement of objectives is a wonderful document.
It is essential that higher education is open to all, no matter their background or wealth.
Best wishes, in solidarity.

Melanie Simms, Associate Professor, Warwick

It is all one fight. Every stand needs to be supported. Solidarity!

Trev Clarke, actor, agitator, Warwick resident

Well done for taking this action to highlight what is happening to higher education, I hope you succeed.

Ivor Southwood

Thanks for your actions to further expose the commodification of higher education. It appears that the University of Warwick’s explanation of this action is based upon the notion that ‘everyone else is doing it.’ Everyone else is paying vice-chancellors exorbitant salaries, while freezing the wages of early career academics and the support staff that keeps the university running. Everyone else is raising university tuition for students at a time when job market prospects are dwindling and student debt is rapidly escalating. I was under the impression that part of the University’s function was to bring a critical eye towards social processes in an attempt to understand their complex determinants as well as the consequences of their continued operation (e.g. a neoliberal university that effectively prices out the communities and employees that support it). If this type of analysis is not the norm for senior management at Warwick or the other Russell Group Universities, then this raises serious questions about the continued relevance of this institutions. Thanks for your efforts and best of luck.

Dr. Peter Hossler, Research Associate in Urban Political Economy, The University of Glasgow

I also cannot believe that Nigel Thrift is involved in this – perhaps naïve, but based on some of his writings I would have expected otherwise.

There are similar struggles going on in the Netherlands, particularly at VU Amsterdam University, see their statement:

https://www.change.org/petitions/stop-the-sell-out-of-the-vu-university-amsterdam

Dr. Bram Büscher, International Institute of Social Studies – Erasmus University

We did something similar when I was an UG at Warwick – back then the fees were just £1,000. A depressing thought. But I’m glad to hear Warwick students are still fighting back.

Dr Lee Jones, Senior Lecturer in International Politics, Queen Mary

The most recent figures about the increasing lack of social mobility via our universities is as predictable as it is disheartening. So keep up the good fight not just against student debt and the rampant marketization of HE but also the government’s imposition of a ‘poverty of aspiration’ among those for whom university should be a radical agency for social and intellectual equality.

Dr David McCallam, Department of French, University of Sheffield

Direct action at its best, not used often enough but….. In solidarity

Steve Turner – Unite, Executive Policy

Thank you for drawing attention to the ways in which working class women & men are being priced out of schools and universities. The economic impediments to higher learning should trouble us all, and I commend you for bringing this vital issue into public debate.

Education is not a privilege but a right. Access to information and, more importantly, to the tools of critical reasoning, methods of research, modes of engaging in the arts and sciences, and a sustained conversation on the history and development of ideas, is central to the health and well-being of humanity. Learning is not a luxury item like a car or a pair of fancy slippers. Education lifts us all and must be funded for the common good. The burden of debt is a form of enslavement, and it is contrary to the goals of a free nation that a person of little means should be further disadvantaged economically in order to gain the knowledge and skills that might free them.  No person wishing to achieve a degree of higher learning should be denied access nor barred by an unmanageable fee, especially while those who sit in the offices of universities profit from the hard work of others.

I support and affirm any form of courageous civil disobedience that does not harm but that educates. Your teachers are no doubt tremendously proud of you for speaking out. Do not let this issue rest in favor of small tokens nor platitudes. Stay strong and take education into the true age of enlightenment, an age in which all people, regardless of their starting station or background, can attain and benefit from knowledge.

D. A. Powell, Associate Professor of Creative Writing, University of San Francisco

Yes, protect our universities from excessive market logic for the sake of our society, young people, and the health and welfare of our population. I had a great education at Warwick both u/g and p/g in the days before neoliberalism got a stranglehold.

Andrew Cooper, Professor of Social Work, Tavistock Centre and University of East London

Just a quick note to say great work on the occupation – in the fine tradition of E.P.Thompson’s refusal to tow the line of the ‘Business University’ in the early 70s at Warwick!

“Is it inevitable that the university will be reduced to the function of providing, with increasingly authoritarian efficiency, pre-packed intellectual commodities which meet the requirements of management? Or can we by our efforts transform it into a centre of free discussion and action, tolerating and even encouraging ‘subversive’ thought and activity, for a dynamic renewal of the whole society within which it operates?” E.P.Thompson, 1972

Dave Featherstone, (Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, University of Glasgow)

I wanted to thank you for your important contribution to the fight for a public university. I fully agree that the on-going privatisation is endangering universities as a place of critical thinking and of furthering equality. Privatisation does not even make economic sense – nor does it improve teaching provision (on the contrary). It feels profoundly unethical to teach in a system which charges students £9000 a year and outsources services to exploitative private providers. This is especially ironic at Warwick, as its chancellor is known for his critical engagement with capitalism. I hope that he remains open to self-criticism and debate.

Dr Angela Last, Associate Lecturer, Central Saint Martins

I would like to send my hearty support for this symbolic action, an important development in opposition to the making of all universities into corporations.

Fred Inglis, Professor Emeritus, University of Sheffield, Honorary Professor of Cultural History the University of Warwick

In 1970 Warwick students were in the forefront of the fight against surveillance of student political action by government and private interests. I remember well the occupation of the Proctor’s Offices in Oxford and the slogan ‘No Files, No Injunctions.’

In the new struggle to keep public education public and affordable by ordinary people and especially people from minorities, you have my unquestioning support.

Roz Kaveney, Poet, author, activist

Fully behind you …

neoliberalism is reaching into every aspect of work here at Northumbria, slowly but surely choking the original aims and intentions of public education – and what they should remain. There are complex debates regarding how to reclaim these, of course, too long for an email of support, but support your stand against insidious privatisation and marketisation of the university I certainly do!

Kye Askins Lecturer Northumbria University

It’s an excellent and very brave thing you are doing to highlight not only what is going on at Warwick but also the ravages that the marketization of HE is causing across the sector. We are all affected by this – students, faculty and admin staff – and you are to be applauded for your courage, your eloquence and your willingness to take such a public stand.

Jo Brewis, University of Leicester School of Management

As a former student in Warwick’s doctoral programme and now a lecturer myself, I heartily applaud and support your occupation and principled protest against the neoliberalization, privatization and marketization of the university, which is not only a local problem at “Warwick Inc.” but part of a global onslaught against higher education. Indeed, my own university in Ireland is sorely battered by austerity cuts and neoliberal policies. May your stand at Warwick be an inspiration to many other universities, in the UK and beyond. The university should be a common, not a corporation. Knowledge should not be a commodity, but a public good.

Dr. Sharae Deckard, Lecturer, School of English, Drama and Film Studies, University College Dublin

Sending a message of solidarity to you and support for your stand against the commodification and marketisation of higher education. Your statement and objectives are impressive and it is incredibly heartening and moving to read them. You are to be applauded for your ethical stand and for having the imagination and courage to take this action. All power to you!

Sarah Davies, Senior Lecturer in Midwifery, University of Salford 

I am writing to express my solidarity with your movement for the protection of the university against privatisation. I agree with your statement that traditional institutional channels have not been receptive to this kind of debate and that a clear and direct intervention from students on the matter is urgent. What needs to be reflected upon, if I may suggest, is the very meaning of privatisation in relation to the scholarly character of universities. The idea of a university as a scholarly community defies the public/private divide which is used by many, without innocence, to characterise modern politics. Scholarship cannot be defined as a utilitarian endeavour with money-making objectives. Education cannot be governed through so-called market principles under the pretext that they provide the most efficient allocation of resource and maximise the productive output of institutions and individuals. The scholarly character of universities resists the ascription of ownership to ‘public’ or ‘private’ capital because the ‘value’ that results from it is not one that can be commodified as neoliberal agendas pretend to do. Debating what is represented by such value could provide you with a solid space from which to challenge the framing of the discourse in terms of private and public ‘market’ narratives. The framing of a debate is already an instrument of power and disrupting it is usually productive of novel ideas.

Prof. Dr. Luis Lobo-Guerrero, Professor of History and Theory of International Relations, University of Groningen, Netherlands

I was an undergraduate in the 1990s in New Zealand, when it was going through marketization of universities. Despite some clawing back from this in recent years, the impact of rising fees and student loans has had a devastating socioeconomic impact, led to a less diverse student body and fundamentally altered the way that education is conceptualized – becoming seen as a private and individual good rather than a societal one.

Miranda Alison – Associate Professor in PaIS, University of Warwick

You shouldn’t make the mistake of reducing what Protect the Public University – Warwick are trying to do as an attempt just to resolve particular localised concerns within a negotiable shared conceptual-space. There’s also something much more interesting happening here; they’re highlighting the irrevocable gap between themselves and the oppressive structures they oppose. There’s a sense in which our concerns cannot be addressed because the very way Warwick university is currently organised systematically prevents this. The seventeen inside the building and the hundreds more outside are showing us that a dramatic rethink is required in all sorts of areas. I don’t buy the claim of the university that democratic means are currently available to reform practices. What all of us are doing is incredibly important and I am personally invested in the outcome. This is why I came to Warwick and am proud to be a Warwick student – not a degree certificate that will enable me to join the system of oppression, but the development of an holistic confident thinking that could eventually produce something we can all be proud of.

Sebastian Averill History MA, University of Warwick

This week I’ve been doing some work with the Brilliant Club who run university style seminars in low participation state schools. I’m humbled by the eloquence, curiosity, and originality of the students I’ve met so far. They remind me that education must be a right, not a privilege only for those able to avail themselves of it. I fully support you in the fight against the marketisation of education.

Benjamin Fowler, Postgrad and Tutor, English Department, University of Warwick

I strongly support for your stand against the privatization of Higher Education. Today it is more important than ever that we keep alive the memory and possibility of places of learning as a potential sites of free collaboration. The brutal manner in which university bureaucracies have surrendered the futures of their students to debt-bondage is exposed with clarity by the courageous and principled refusal to allow university spaces to be reduced to sites of profit. The current state of the university sector is, however, a result of contingent choices. It can and will change for the better, as long as we can think an alternative.

Dr Tim Cooper, Senior Lecturer in History, University of Exeter

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