We will stand together to defend education

February 3, 2011

The academy is under unprecedented threat in the United Kingdom.

The Government is cutting support for teaching in higher education by 80 per cent, and forcing universities to charge up to £9,000 per year. With the median wage in the UK at £22,000, the majority of the UK population will be unable to pay some of the highest fees in the world. The effect will be to deny most students access to higher education.

Most families will be unwilling to shoulder a debt of upwards of £40,000-50,000 per child. A three-year degree plus one year postgraduate certificate of education would mean, for example, debts that would never be paid off by most teachers. We could face the extraordinary situation where parents who had not yet paid off their own student debt would be expected to subsidise their children’s higher education.

The removal of all funding for teaching apart from the STEM (science, technology, engineering and medicine) will make the liberal arts largely the province of the minority from well-off families. The STEM subjects, already in financial difficulties, will struggle to maintain their position among the world’s best.

The discredited neo-liberal business model adopted by many universities will become the norm, establishing financial judgement as the driver of academic decision-making, subverting academic freedom, destroying “dangerous” creativity and stifling innovation. Truly new academic directions, always difficult to establish, will become next to impossible to follow as industrial methods of line management encourage conservative practice.

We, the undersigned, recognise the important role played by students over the past three months, giving us hope for change for the better. Young people, characterised for years as passive and uninterested in politics and society, have shown a willingness to fight for a better future for all. Their courage and perseverance puts the rest of us to shame.

When a generation of young people are denied the right to higher education, we should not be surprised that the proposals are greeted with anger. We welcome that anger. Without it we cannot expect an effective defence of higher education in Britain. We welcome the student occupations and demonstrations in opposition – an opposition to the scrapping of the education maintenance allowance (which offered the opportunity of a second chance at post-16 education) as much as to increased fees and funding cuts in higher education.

We deplore the violence displayed by the state towards those critical of its policies. The videoing of underage children without supervision, mounted charges against unarmed young people, and the use of truncheons to heads and limbs are all designed to deter street protests.

Kettling tactics, such as those used on Westminster Bridge London on 9 December, could lead to a tragedy. As one witness said: “The sides of the bridge were only waist high and all it would have taken was one stumble and somebody could have gone over the side. I am surprised that nobody died there. Most of the injuries I saw were head injuries, I was surprised how much force the police had used.” (Anaesthetist from Aberdeen, quoted in The Observer, 19 December).

Kettling, and other forms of aggressive policing, are designed to stifle dissent. Already there has been the suggestion of using water cannon from Northern Ireland to disperse protesters, a suggestion so far resisted by the Home Secretary. Now there is the further suggestion that demonstrations in the capital city could be banned by the police.

In response to their appeal, we pledge our support to the emerging student movement which is bringing the voice of youth back onto the political stage in ways we have not seen since the 1960s and 1970s. We further recognise that the student movement can only hope to be successful in its aims if it has the full support of intellectuals and workers, particularly those organised in trade unions.

To this end, we pledge our support to all initiatives in defence of full and free access to tertiary education, in defence of academic freedom, and in defence of the academy. We will not let the students stand alone. We commit ourselves to the defence of the long-established right to protest in the streets of the capital city, and in the vicinity of the place from where the attack on education is being organised.

Signed (All in a personal capacity):

Professor Malcolm Povey, president, University of Leeds UCU

Dr Jim Wolfreys, president, King's College London UCU

Tom Hickey, University of Brighton and UCU national executive committee

Professor Noam Chomsky, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Professor Alan Ward, Newcastle University

Dr Stuart Parkinson, executive director, Scientists for Global Responsibility

Dr Philip Webber, chair, Scientists for Global Responsibility

Mike Lammiman, University of Hull UCU

Dr Eliza Darling, Goldsmiths, University of London UCU

Mike Cushman, London School of Economics and Political Science UCU

Dr Gavin Reid, University of Leeds

Cliff Snaith, co-ord secretary , London Metropolitan University UCU

Professor Karl Claxton, University of York

Dr Andreas Werner, Newcastle University

Professor Andrew Sayer, Lancaster University

Professor David Byrne, Durham University

Dr Andrew Shail, Newcastle University

Andrew Stafford, University of Leeds

Dr Anya Lewin, University of Plymouth

Bahadur Najak, Durham University

Dr Brenda Johnston, University of Southampton

Ms Christina Pantazis, University of Bristol

Dr Clare Birchall, University of Kent

Dr Claudia Baldoli, Newcastle University

Dr Daniel Allington, The Open University

Dr David Boothroyd, University of Kent

Dr Deborah Robinson, University of Plymouth

Dr Derek Kirton, University of Kent

E. Stemp, Newcastle University

Dr Esther McIntosh, York St John University

Dr Felicity Laurence, Newcastle University

Dr Geoff Abbott, Newcastle University

Dr Gurminder Bhambra, University of Warwick

Dr Holly Smith, University College London

Dr Iain Ferguson, University of Stirling

Iain Wilkinson, University of Kent

Jennifer Jones, University of the West of Scotland

Dr Jennifer Toomey, Newcastle University

Dr John Croft, Brunel University

Dr John Flanagan, The Open University

Professor John Holmwood, University of Nottingham

John Westmoreland, York College

Dr Jonathan Dean, University of Leeds

Kate Ness, University of Reading

Dr Kate Sang, University of East Anglia

Dr Katherine Lebow, Newcastle University

Professor Kenn Gerdes, Newcastle University

Dr Kenneth Wright, Newcastle University

Kevin McSorley, University of Portsmouth

Laura McMahon, University of Cambridge

Leo Goretti, University of Reading

Lesley McGorrigan, University of Leeds

Dr Louise Livesey, Ruskin College, Oxford

Professor Luke Martell, University of Sussex

Dr Marion Hersh, University of Glasgow

Dr Marci Green, University of Wolverhampton

Marie Morley, University of Bath

Dr Maud Bracke, University of Glasgow

Dr Michael Loughlin, Manchester Metropolitan University

Professor Michael Northcott, University of Edinburgh

Nick Sotirakopoulos, University of Kent

Professor Patrick Ainley, University of Greenwich.

Dr Paul Blackledge, Leeds Metropolitan University

Professor Philip Moriarty, University of Nottingham

Dr Polly Radcliffe, University of Kent

Professor Bob Brecher, University of Brighton

Dr Richard Elliott, Newcastle University

Dr Richard Hull, Newcastle University Business School

Sally Kincaid, Wakefield and District National Union of Teachers

Dr Sarah Amsler, Aston University

Sean Wallis, University College London

Dr Simon Bradford, Brunel University

Professor William Outhwaite, Newcastle University

Yaron Golan

Dr James Procter, Newcastle University

Daniel Lyles

Dr Tony Stead, Royal Holloway College London

Terry Wrigley, University of Edinburgh (Retired)

Dr Alejandro Colas, Birkbeck, University of London

Angela M Bah, University of Brighton

Julia Winckler, University of Brighton

Jane Challenger, University of Brighton

Jenny Robertson, University of Brighton

Sheila Cullen, University of Brighton

Mark Abel, University of Brighton

Dr Anita Rupprecht, University of Brighton

Dr Victoria Margree, University of Brighton

Dr Lesley Whitworth, University of Brighton

Leo Santos-Shaw, University of Brighton

Sue Gollifer, University of Brighton

Louise Bristow, University of Brighton

Andy Knott, University of Brighton

Dr Peter Jackson, University of Brighton

Sue Tribe, University of Brighton

Dr Jelena Timotijevic, University of Brighton

Graham Sharp, University of Brighton

Dr Paula Wilcox, University of Brighton

Richard Royce, University of Brighton

Janet Elizabeth, University of Brighton

Dr Lucy Robinson, University of Sussex

Dr Monica Mclean, University of Nottingham

Professor Mick Dunford, University of Sussex

Dimitris Seremetis, University of the Aegean, Chios-Greece

Helen Thanopoulou, University of the Aegean,

Dr Christie Carson, Royal Holloway, University of London

Professor ( Emeritus ) Alan Jenkins, Oxford Brookes University

Dr Les Levidow, The Open University

Dr Bruce Baker, Royal Holloway, University of London

Dr Giacomo Benedetto, Royal Holloway, University of London

Dr Jacob Leigh, Royal Holloway, University of London

Dr David Williams, Royal Holloway, University of London

Dr Dimitrios Dalakoglou, University of Sussex

Professor Ron Barnett, Institute of Education, University of London

Professor Richard Hatcher, Birmingham City University

Professor Duska Rosenberg, Royal Holloway, University of London

Professor Nikos Theotokas, Panteion University, Athens

Professor Eugenios Angelopoulos, National Technical University of Athens

Professor Dina Vaiou, National Technical University of Athens

Giota Touloumi, Athens University Medical School

Dr Rania Astrinaki, Panteion University, Athens

Gerasimos Makris, Panteion University, Athens

Yanis Maistros, National Tech University of Athens

Professor David James, University of the West of England

Dr Anna Apostolidou, University College London

Dr Angeliki Spiropoulou, Peloponnese University, Greece

Dr Christos Dermentzopoulos, University of Ioannina

Dr Michalis Spourdalakis, University of Athens

Dr Konstantinos Kavoulakos, University of Crete

Dr Kalwant Bhopal, University of Southampton

Professor Richard Seaford, University of Exeter

Dr Cathy Bergin, University of Brighton

Dr Patricia McManus, University of Brighton

Dr Ian McDonald, University of Brighton

Professor Rebecca Kay, University of Glasgow

Professor Gill Jones, Keele University

Dr Andreas Lyberatos, Institute for Mediterranean Studies/ FORTH

Susan Kelly, Goldsmiths, University of London

Alberto Toscano, Goldsmiths, University of London

Dr Vicky Obied, Goldsmiths, University of London

Des Freedman, Goldsmiths, University of London

Victoria Redclift, London School of Economics and Political Science

Dr Giorgos Tsimouris, Panteion University, Athens

Professor Dimitra Gefou-Madianou, Panteion University , Athens

Johannes Wilm, Goldsmiths, University of London

John Drury, University of Sussex

Dr Anastasia Marinopoulou, Open University, Greece

Vangelis Papadimitropoulos

Professor Skevos Papaioannou, University of Crete

Professor Procopis Papastratis, Panteion University, Athens

Professor Geoff Eley, University of Michigan

Ryan Hickey, London School of Economics and Political Scicence

Dr Branwen Jones, Goldsmiths, University of London

Dr Christina Scharff, King's College London

Dr Katya Georgieva, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences

Dr David Harper, University of East London

Dr Benno Teschke, University of Sussex

Dr Nikola Kosmatopoulos, Zurich University

Dr Judith Bovensiepen, Musée du Quai Branly and University of Kent

Dr Kay Dickinson, Goldsmiths, University of London

Professor David Mcclements, University of Massachusetts

Dr Clare Kelly, Goldsmiths, University of London

Sandra Kerr

Marion Engrand-O’Hara, Royal Holloway International

Rob French, University of Sussex

Sarah Rigg, University of Sussex

Dr Vicky Harman, Royal Holloway, University of London

David Procter

Dr Barry Heselwood, University of Leeds

Jill Edwards, University of Leeds

Dr Peter Luetchford, University of Sussex

Professor Katrina Honeyman, University of Leeds

Elizabeth Clear, University College London

Dr John Grahame, University of Leeds

Dr Vic Gammon, University of Newcastle

Dr Marcelo de Miranda, University of Leeds

Rachel Myers, University of Leeds

Dr Ian Macdonald, University of Leeds

Kiff Bamford, Leeds Metropolitan University

Professor Steven French, University of Leeds

Professor Jane Plastow, University of Leeds

Professor Raymond Bush, University of Leeds

David Pattinson, University of Leeds

Dr Joanna Drugan, University of Leeds

David Rudling, University of Sussex

Dr Jennifer Perez, University of Leeds

Colin Clark, University of Sussex

Lorna Warren, University of Sheffield

Andrea Haworth, University of Leeds

Chrysi Papaioannou, King's College London

Mark Campbell, London Metropolitan University

Catherine Potter, University of Leeds

Professor Nick Couldry, Goldsmiths, University of London

Dr Simon Hall, University of Leeds

Susan Eamer, University of Sussex

Dr Benjamin Fincham, University of Sussex

Lois Lee, University of Cambridge

Dr Georgios Agelopoulos, University of Macedonia, Greece

Dr Sofia Avgitidou, University of Western Macedonia, Greece

Dr Ben Bollig, University of Leeds

Paul Scorer, Leeds Metropolitan University

Dr Sandra J Williams, University of Brighton

Dr Lucy Donaldson, University of Reading

Dr Stephen Bullivant, St Mary's University College, Twickenham

Stevienna De Saille, University of Leeds

Maruta Herding, University of Cambridge

James Dickins, University of Leeds

Dr Lucie Middlemiss, University of Leeds

Dr David Bond, University of Leeds

Maureen Pinder, University of Leeds

Dr Alex Nunn, Leeds Metropolitan University

Costas Tsakirides, Leeds Metropolitan University

Dr Bridgette Rickett, Leeds Metropolitan University

Matthew Caygill, Leeds Metropolitan University

Angela Grier, Leeds Metropolitan University

Dr Kristen Kreider, Royal Holloway, University of London

Dr Suet Ho, University of Bristol

Anna Seabourne, University of Leeds

Jo Hassall, Leeds Metropolitan University

Tim Briggs, Leeds Metropolitan University

Professor Gargi Bhattacharyya, Aston University

Michael Totten, Leeds Metropolitan University

Dr Jenny Tennant Jackson, Leeds Metropolitan University

Barry Winter, Leeds Metropolitan University

Janet Poveda, Leeds Metropolitan University

Lisa Samson, Leeds Metropolitan University

Dr James Cussens, University of York

Dr Nicole Whitworth, Leeds Metropolitan University

Dr Ian Gibson, University of Huddersfield

Dr Deirdre Osborne, Goldsmiths, University of London

Erika Laredo, Leeds Metropolitan University

Dr John Schwarzmantel, University of Leeds

Professor Richard Wistreich, Royal Northern College of Music

Dr Pavlos Pantazis, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

John Baxter, The Open University

Steve Mardy, Leeds Metropolitan University

Mark Slater, University of Sussex

Professor Valerie Hey, University of Sussex

Dr Claire Chambers, University of Leeds

Professor Laskaris Nikolaos, National Technical University of Athens

Dr Elizabeth Hull, School of Oriental and African Studies, University

Rob Rattray, Leeds Trinity University College

Dr Priyamvada Gopal, University of Cambridge

Dr Berry Groisman, University of Cambridge

Andrew Chitty, University of Sussex

Bruce Beckles, University of Cambridge

Professor Miriam David, Institute of Education, University of London

Dr Hugues Azérad, University of Cambridge

Steve Berry, Royal Northern College of Music

Dr Christopher Warnes, University of Cambridge

Dr Adam Stewart-Wallace, St John's College, University of Cambridge

Dr Michael Hrebeniak, University of Cambridge

Dr Sinéad Mattar, University of Cambridge

J. Prynne, University of Cambridge

Professor William Brooks, University of York

Dr Jane Ginsborg, Royal Northern College of Music

Dr George Nicholson, University of Sheffield

Dr Maximilian Gwiazda, University of Cambridge

Dr Andreas. Werner, University of Newcastle

Linda Lawrence, Harrogate College

Dr Jason Scott-Warren, University of Cambridge

Ingbert Floyd, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Professor Philippa Browning, University of Manchester

Dr Simon Keegan-Phipps, University of Sheffield

Professor Jonathan Long, Carnegie Research Institute, Leeds Metropolitan University

Dr Alec Grierson, Leeds Metropolitan University

Dr Andrew Killick, University of Sheffield

Micheline McNamara, Leeds Metropolitan University

Dr Eva Keller, University of Zurich, Switzerland

Dr Geoff Williams, University College London

Dr Mara Fuertes-Gutierrez, Leeds Metropolitan University

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