Alan Jarvis, Southampton Socialist Party
Management at SolentUniversity is rattled and failing to cover up its plans for extensive cuts and redundancies. Already staff in the UCU and Unison unions have voted 92% in favour of ‘no confidence’ in the vice-chancellor, who is paid £300,000 a year.
After Socialist Students put up posters on 3 April organising a meeting against cuts and redundancies, the fuse was lit. Within 24-hours the local news was reporting the university’s plans. Two days later, 15 students attended Solent University’s first meeting hosted by Socialist Students planning how students can fight back.
The meeting resolved to immediately send support to university staff, seek to have a no-confidence referendum of the student union and to arrange a lobby of the vice-chancellor demanding an end to the planned cuts.
The crisis at Solent University is symptomatic of the crisis in higher education. Tory cuts and changes to funding have been exacerbated by a management hell bent on eking every ounce of possible revenue out of each student. At Solent this means 20% budget cuts, up to 200 redundancies, cuts to accessibility funds and the resulting potential course closures.
Students aren’t prepared to let this happen. They will fight alongside staff for a fully-funded university education run in the interests of students and workers.