uel98 on Sat, 23 May 1998 01:02:05 +0200 (MET DST)

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<nettime> Occupation at the University of East London



Financial cuts have been made at the University of East London, England. This
means courses and services will be shut down (including mathematics and health
services), lecturers and staff have been intimidated into forced and
'voluntary' redundancies, and therefore, of course, the standard of education
for students will fall.

UEL is one of the most ethnically diverse universities in the U.K. A large
percentage of its students come from unconventional backgrounds: overseas
students (mostly European, African, Asian), students with no formal
qualifications (mature students), and many local students from the deprived
East London area. The University takes pride in such unconventional student
body and in the fact that many of its departments have achieved high national
recognition, both for teaching and research (often in spite of insufficient
investment in the infrastructure, such as library, IT services and so on).

The main campus of our University is currently under occupation by students and
lecturers in protest against 2.4 million of cuts. The occupation began at 7pm
Monday 18th and has continued to escalate until today. After twenty years of
anti-union laws and UK brand of austerity policies, students and staff have
said enough is enough. We have started to build bridges among ourselves in the
belief that student struggles are also staff struggles and viceversa. 

 We are writing in the certainty that this situation will not be completely
unfamiliar to you.

It is our view that our protests are relevant not merely to London, England or
even Europe. We believe that our particular struggle at this time may reflect
struggles and problems faced by you - yesterday, today and probably tomorrow.
The commercialisation and 'rational' restructuring of education is part of
those strategies designed to increase competitive pressures among people
working and studying in colleges around the world. These strategies go under
many names - neoliberalism, capitalism, globalisation etc., yet they all have
the same meaning. This is that colleges around the world are increasingly
turned into "brain factories" and education is increasingly turned into a work
process quantified by the 'right' student-staff ratio and paid by student's
poverty and staff's underpaid work. This is what we have started to fight
against. And this is what many people both within and outside education are
doing around the world: Indonesian people against IMF austerity policies a!  nd
the military dictatorship; Danish workers for more holidays and higher pay;
activists from Europe India A

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