The front page of today’s Herald has revealed the extent of the latest round of cuts at Glasgow University – a total of £3 million ‘cost-cutting’ measures as part of planned total £20 million ‘savings’ over three years.
The article has confirmed what we’ve been hearing rumours of for a few days: nursing, social work, several modern languages including Russian, Czech and Polish, and anthropology are all to be scrapped. The Department of Adult and Continuing Education, which caters for 5000 adult learners, is also set to be cut.
The occupation awoke this morning to this news, and everyone here has thrown themselves into organising around it. This Friday, a broad student meeting has been called in the Queen Margaret Union to discuss the implications of the cuts, at 1pm in Qudos. The meeting is being backed by the QMU, the GUU and the sports association, GUSA.
This comes ahead of a meeting of the University Court next Wednesday 16 February. A demonstration has been called, assembling 1pm outside the Free Hetherington.
The following statement has this afternoon been released to the media:
Students and staff members involved with the ongoing occupation of the Hetherington Research Club at Glasgow University have vowed to fight proposed ‘cost-cutting’ measures which could see several courses being axed entirely.
Revealed today, the proposed cuts will see the scrapping of the Department of Adult and Continuing Education, which caters for 5000 adult learners though evening and weekend classes. Funding may also be withdrawn for nursing, anthropology and social work, alongside several modern languages.
Students entered the Hetherington Research Club (HRC) on Tuesday 1 February, in protest at cuts to education and public services, and to demand the re-opening of the building, a post-graduate social club that was forced to close down one year ago amid financial problems. The HRC, renamed the ‘Free Hetherington’, has since been made available by the occupiers for student and community use, hosting a wide variety of social and educational events and operating as a hub of anti-cuts activism. No response has yet been forthcoming from university management, with the occupiers vowing to stay indefinitely.
In response to the latest announcement about cuts at the university, occupation spokesperson Caron Bell, an honours anthropology student, said: “Principal Anton Muscatelli has publicly stated that Glasgow University is on the verge of bankruptcy, yet this university last year made a surplus of £8 million, and spends millions on corporate hospitality every year. More worryingly, this latest round of cuts amounts to only £3 million in so-called savings, as part of a plan to save £20 million over the next three years. What department will be next? This wholesale attack on education will be resisted, both by staff and students. The occupation is the first stage of a long battle to defeat these cuts.”
Nursing student Stuart Tuckwood added: “The staff in the Glasgow University Nursing Department are dedicated and hard-working and do an excellent job of developing talented Nurses who go on to provide a high standard of care for the vulnerable of this country. The students on our course are united with the staff, we will not be ‘axed’ quietly. We will fight him and his business model for the University every step of the way.’
A member of staff from the nursing faculty also commented: “If the published plans go ahead, we would see it as very disappointing. At Glasgow University we offer a very high standard different course providing very good nurses for the National Health Service.”
Students have called an open meeting this Friday 11 February, 1pm in the Queen Margaret Union, to discuss the implications of the cuts. The University Court is set to vote on the proposals next Wednesday 16 February – a mass student demonstration has been called, assembling at 12 noon outside the occupation at 13 University Gardens.