Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Students occupy campus over funds (BBC)

Students have staged a sit-in protest at London's largest university over plans that could see 550 jobs axed.

Some 30 students have occupied London Metropolitan University's (LMU) Commercial Road campus in Whitechapel, east London.

LMU is being forced to repay some £50m after auditors found drop-out rates were higher than stated - it has been overpaid by £15m a year since 2005.

Last week, lecturers took strike action over the funding issue.

'Alternative proposals'

Union leaders said the trigger to strike action was a "poorly thought through" redundancy scheme announced by managers in the middle of talks.

Amy Jameson, a furniture design student, said she hoped the current protest would be a lengthy one.

"We're intending the sit-in to go on for as long as it takes the management to listen to us and start communicating and negotiating with us."

She added: "Up until this point, we've engaged in no direct communication with the management. They're not really willing to consider any kind of alternative proposals that have been put forward to them."

The university has more than 34,000 students on its register and 4,612 members of staff.