Solidarity with the CASS Occupiers

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Central House, 10 December 2015 (Photo by Monica Mottin)

On Wednesday evening a group of students occupied the Bank Gallery at Central House, in protest against the disastrous and ill-judged course and job cuts at London Met, and especially against the planned closure and sale of Central House itself – the home of the CASS arts and design faculty. UCU and UNISON fully support the action taken by students and are calling upon all staff to rally in solidarity outside Central House today – Thursday – at 1pm. SUPPORT THE CASS STUDENTS! They are sticking their necks out, so the least we can do is put our papers aside, rearrange any non-vital appointments, and get down to give them a confidence boost.

A statement by the occupiers can be read here:

http://occupythecass.tumblr.com/post/134880375893/our-demands

We are also printing below the full version of a letter from London Met UCU printed (abridged) in today’s Times Higher Education. The full version includes the result of the recent vote of (no) confidence in the Vice-Chancellor:

https://www.timeshighereducation.com/letters/now-hear-this

“You said, we listened” is a slogan promoted to students by London Met’s Vice-Chancellor, John Raftery. We hope he’s listening carefully now because the Students Union, at their recent AGM, voted overwhelmingly to oppose his ‘one campus’ plan and in favour of a ‘two campus’ model (‘Multiple Solution’, Times Higher Education, Nov 26) that ensures the renowned Cass arts faculty remains at Aldgate. They also voted to oppose recently-announced course cuts and to work with staff unions to fight proposed job cuts.

 We also hope the VC is listening to the House of Lords who last week discussed the Earl of Clancarty’s call for the Government to intervene and halt the sale of the Cass faculty building. This received much support, though ultimately the Tory Whip, Baroness Evans, stated that the Government couldn’t intervene in the running of autonomous institutions. Nonetheless, she stated that she was “very sure that the university will take note of what [had] been said [that] morning”.

  In addition to the voices of students and Lords, UCU’s National Executive Committee unanimously voted to declare the fight against campus, course and job cuts at London Met as a ‘local dispute of national significance’ and pledged full national support to the local UCU branch. 

  Finally, several hundred members of UCU and UNISON have just taken part in a vote of confidence in the VC, with the result that an overwhelming 82% said they had ‘NO’ confidence in him.

 The obvious message to Vice-Chancellor Raftery is this. When the voices on all sides are saying that the emperor is wearing no clothes, it’s time to look in the mirror and make yourself decent.

We are sure that the students occupying the CASS’s Bank Gallery would love to hear some supportive messages from all of you. You can send Twitter messages to @occupythecass and to the Facebook group London Met – Occupy Cass.

Please do so – their fight is our fight.

Finally, CASS SU rep Amanda Marillier gave this rap at last night’s event Arts in a Time of Austerity:

In solidarity,

The UCU Coordinating Committee 

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