Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Student Union Response to London Met Transformation

The proposal to cut 70 per cent of the Undergraduate portfolio at London Metropolitan University (London Met) will have a huge impact on the past, present and future students of London Met. The proposed reduction in courses coupled with the budget fee levels put forward by the university could mean that London Met is perceived to be the no frills university as it will provide a bare minimum of services and resources to its students. This would be disastrous to London Met students in terms of how the value of their degree is perceived by both the university and industry sector. This would also have an adverse impact on the London Met student experience.

Many of the areas affected by the proposed cuts at London Met not only have a high intake of students, but also achieve high scores in many surveys that reflect student satisfaction. The Students’ Union would like detailed information about what will happen to the existing students whose courses are deleted as the proposal to transfer students to other universities was put forward as an option on the Undergraduate Review Board.

Along with the recent proposed course reduction, London Met will be closing the Learning Development Unit, which is an area of excellence, the Writing Centre, a service that not only provides students with learning support but also employs London Met students who will now have to find alternative employment to support their studies.

London Met currently has contracts with external providers for cleaning, security, catering and maintenance. There have been recent proposals to outsource the Print Centre and the Disability and Dyslexia Service. The Students' Union would like to know whether the university has plans to outsource any of the other internal university services to private companies during the reshaping of the university. The history of outsourcing services at London Met has not had a positive impact on the university. This has even been acknowledged by senior members of the university.

The Students' Union believes that this transformation of the university is in direct contradiction to the ethos of London met. We change lives and of this we are proud. Many of the students who will be affected are single parents and come from the most deprived areas of London. We enable people to develop and progress towards their future. We are commended on the high standard of teaching as reflected in both the National Student Survey and the Opinion Panel. The Students’ Union would like to formally request access to the equality impact assessment.

The Students' Union has deep concerns over the future of the university. What will the university be able to offer students in terms of service, support, choice and quality? And how much will the London Met degree really be worth?

The Students' Union does not accept this transformation as necessary. Furthermore, we will actively support our students who will be directly and indirectly affected by these damaging plans.
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Sunday, 17 April 2011

Call for an emergency Board of Governors meeting regarding course closures

We the undersigned call on Clive Jones, as Chair of the London
Metropolitan University Board of Governors, to invoke an emergency
all-Governors' meeting.

The role of the Board of Governors is not (and never should have been) to "rubber-stamp" the decisions of the Executive (we thought those days had gone). It does include overseeing the Executive and ensuring the appropriate use of funds.

As stated in the draft minutes of the Board of Governors' meeting on 16 March, the meeting of Academic Board held on Thursday 14 April was "to approve proposals on undergraduate courses and tuition fees to underpin the submission of the Access Agreement to OFFA on 19 April."

It was agreed that "a small group of Governors would be convened for one meeting to approve the final proposals on behalf of the Board". It was surely not envisaged that "proposals on undergraduate courses" would imply slashing the undergraduate course provision to such a savage extent. Cuts of this severity cannot be left to a sub-committee of the Board of Governors as these entail a major change in strategy and policy.

No financial justification for these cuts has been put forward. The severe reduction in the undergraduate portfolio leaves London Metropolitan University vulnerable to takeover and asset stripping from competitor institutions (where higher tuition fees are being proposed than at London Met).

We call on the Board of Governors to meet immediately to demand an explanation from the VC and the London Met Executive's proposal for undergraduate provision, and to ensure the survival of the university by its reversal.

The Governors are accountable to the wider community of London Met. Given the previous history of governance at London Met, this Board of Governors has a unique imperative to listen to and respond to that community, and address their very real and serious concerns. It is vital that the Board of Governors insists that the University is able to honour the pledge made in the strategic plan: transforming lives, meeting needs, building careers. The current proposals satisfy none of these criteria.

Please call the extraordinary meeting as soon as possible, and in your capacity as Chair suspend immediately the decisions regarding the undergraduate portfolio until the meeting has taken place and inform OFFA accordingly.


Kay Dudman (Elected Staff Governor)
Yeashir Ahmed (President, London Met SU, Student Governor)
Claire Locke (President Elect, London Met SU)
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