15 Oct 2010

Browne report must be fought!

Joint Goldsmiths Students' Union/ Goldsmiths UCU/ Goldsmiths Unison
statement on the Browne Report:

On Tuesday the Browne report came out, recommending removing the cap on
tuition fees. This was followed by an email from the Senior
Management Team (SMT) predicting Goldsmiths would lose £15m per year from
its teaching budget for the next few years.

The level of projected cuts which could result from the implementation of
the Browne report is unlike the scale of what any of us have ever faced.
What would a 20% cut would do to our jobs, courses, libraries, facilities,
support services?

Also, what would happen if students were expected to pay £7,000 a year, or
possibly more, in fees? This would result in England having the the most
expensive public degrees in the world, with families having to shell out
between £76,000 and 136,000 to put two children through university.

If there is an open market in fees, this will create a 2-tier university
system, with the most well-resourced universities charging the highest
fees, and the most under-resourced universities charging the lowest. This
would drastically exacerbate inequality in education.

The report also proposes to create a market in student places which it
suggests will facilitate a large reduction in public funding which 'may be
equivalent to removing all funding from anything other than priority
subjects'. Goldsmiths, because it focuses on arts, humanities and social
sciences, will be particularly vulnerable. Because of this, it is
especially important that we rise to the challenge.

The scale of the cuts will require a response that is immediate, powerful,
united and effective. We need to combine all our educational, campaigning
and mobilizing skills to make the strongest possible protest to
government. We urge everyone to attend the demonstration on the 10th of
November (http://demo2010.org). We also encourage you to participate in
other anti-cuts actions, including: the march at 4:30pm on the 20th of
October at Lincolns Inn Fields (http://bit.ly/bAtDmc); the Lewisham Anti
Cuts Alliance public meeting at Goldsmiths, at 7PM, also the 20th of
October (http://on.fb.me/dz9c8B), and the SERTUC march on the 23rd of
October (assemble 11AM Chalton Street)

SMT have a responsibility to join our campaign to defend education. We
call on them to not accept the Coalition Government's argument that there
is no alternative, or the cuts for which they have no mandate. We also
call on them to defend Goldsmiths' unique character as an institution that
both supports cutting edge research and also has a strong widening
participation agenda. We ask them to support our campaign against
education cuts and to put pressure on politicians, particularly Liberal
Democrats, to stick to their pre-election pledge.

Goldsmiths Students' Union, Goldsmiths UCU and Goldsmiths Unison

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