Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Open letter to London Met Students

Save Our University

A Fresh Start for London Met

In the summer the Vice Chancellor, Brian Roper, announced that the University was in severe financial difficulties. Having discovered discrepancies in the University’s official statistics on student completion, management have informed us that the Higher Education Funding Council has cut our grant by £18m / year and is asking for restitution of £38m in overpayments over the past three years.

Senior management have responded by threatening to cut staff numbers. In the last week they have announced that they are looking to cut the equivalent of 330 full-time posts. In practice, this could mean that up to 4-500 people (between 12 and 20% of the current workforce) lose their jobs. There may be even more in the near future, precipitating a spiral of decline.

If this is allowed to go ahead, it will inevitably have a massive impact on students, including:

  • Fewer specialist courses, fewer module options
  • Fewer lecturers able to make best use of their subject specialist knowledge
  • Larger classes, less time in class, and less individual contact time with staff
  • An over reliance on web-based learning mechanisms such as WebLearn
  • The likelihood of fewer specialist librarians and in-house IT staff
  • A reduction in specialised focused support from in-house units such as the LDU
  • Fewer, more stressed and overworked staff across the whole of the university including Reception, Registry and Student Services
London Met UCU and Unison believe that the current senior management have no idea how to rescue our university and that as a result their current strategy of cutting jobs and courses is at best a deflection from their own failings and at worst a recipe for our university’s terminal decline.

No one is denying that there are real problems within our university that desperately need to be
addressed. However, management’s ill thought out slash-and-burn attempts are not the way to do so.

What we need is a radical overhaul of how our university is managed. We have every confidence that between us, staff and students can not only correct past mistakes but also learn from them and position the university for a more assured future. However, to do this first requires the current university management to abandon their plans and for government to step in and provide sufficient funds for us to reclaim and reenergise our university. The money is there. If the government can spend billions of pounds bailing out rich bankers it can certainly find a few million to rescue our university, its students and its staff.

How you can help

  • Join our protests and demonstrations (see savelondonmetuni.blogspot.com for regular updates)
  • Sign our petitions on www.lmuucu.org.uk
  • Write to your MP (see www.writetothem.com for details)