Last Wednesday , 9th December, students occupied Central House to protest against the proposed move of CASS to Holloway Campus, cuts in courses and jobs, and also, the suspension of the CASS Faculty of Art Architecture and Design dean Prof. Robert Mull. The CASS occupation has so far received lots of media coverage, here are some links:
10 December 2015 – Building Design online Londonmet students occupy the CASS
10 December 2015 – The Independent – London Metropolitan University students occupy Cass art building to protest its sale which would result in ‘course and job cuts’
10 December – The Architects Journal – Students occupy the Cass in protest over cuts and relocation plans
10 December – London24 – London Met students occupy Cass arts campus and stage Whitchapel demo
10 December 2015 – East London Advertiser – London Uni students staging Whitechapel demo after occupying Cass arts campus
10 December 2015 – Socialist Worker – Art students occupy against ‘ridiculous’ cuts at London Met
10 December 2015 – The Times Higher Education – Students occupy London Met art gallery as faculty dean is suspended
10 December 2015 – BBC News – Students occupy campus angry at plans to sell it
10 December – Evening StEast andard – Student squatters occupy Bank Gallery in protest at design school sell-off
10 December 2015 – East London Advertiser – Lecturers join students’ protest to stop London Met university closing Whitechapel campus
11 December 2015 – The Huffington Post – Students Occupy Up-For-Sale London Met Building As University Hopes To Clear £30M Debts
11 December 2015 – Morning Star – Arts Students Occupy The Cass To Save It From Sale
13 December 2015 – Artlyst – Jeremy Deller Weighs into Cass Art School Debate As Students Occupy Campus
Mark Campbell, on behalf of London Met UCU cleared the misunderstanding around the assumed debt mentioned in the Huffington Post :
The reality is London Met has already paid off all its debt and is now debt free! It’s problem is income related – not getting enough students. However, our contention is that situation is a result of its years of course and job cuts, and that more shrinkage will simply make it that much worse.
Not having any outstanding debt means we could actually take secured loans (effectively mortgages) on our buildings without having to flog them off and move out of Aldgate campus – then use that huge additional money to effectively invest in recruitment and more securely support all our courses and increase our community presence. Such investment would actively help improve student satisfaction by allowing for a reduction in student-to-staff ratios (SSR) – something that would immediately increase our national university league table positioning. Such staff investment would directly help increase individual student support, likely leading to further improved NSS results. A virtuous circle rather than the current management induced death-cycle.
So the real difference of strategy is between the VC’s one of shrinkage and our one of invested growth. Keeping CASS at Aldgate is a key to that growth, its forced-reduction to Holloway Road would alternatively simply lead to a further, and critical, decline of London Met.