The repercussions of the cuts in Higher Education are being felt in Bristol, where lecturers at the University of the West of England (UWE) have been forced to take strike action over threats to staffing. Here I report on the strike and find out what students who supported it think about the situation. See the video here.
The arguments advanced by government ministers like David Willetts for the draconian reform of university funding are confused and specious. They would certainly fail any exam in logic. Rather than reason, they depend on various forms of mediatised rhetoric, like Orwell’s newspeak, or doublespeak, or what the writer Steve Poole has called unspeak—although sometimes they amount to simple misrepresentation, derived from hasty and inadequate statistics, or falsehood resulting from denial. Continue reading
In On Campus, Terry Eagleton speaks at a meeting at the London School of Economics about the contradiction between education for society and education for the economy. South of the river, the Vice Chancellor of Roehampton University, Paul O’Prey, considers the implications of government measures with colleagues.
With Terry Eagleton, Paul O’Prey, Joe Kelleher, Nina Power, Laurie Penny and Ruby Hirsch.
It’s a curious business. You’ve got these two nutters. One of them, let’s call him Rajiv, has culled some emails from a discussion list from which he’s been excluded for assorted ravings, and sends out plaintive missives couched in terms of eastern philosophy which no-one can understand. The second nutter, we’ll him Jack, receives one of his messages, and knowing something about eastern philosophy, takes it seriously and replies. One or two others complain to the discussion list which they mistake it as coming from, to which Nutter No.2 responds in terms that people on the list find pretty offensive (and it’s not the first time his interventions on this list have caused unhappiness either).
Seems to me this incident should be understood symptomatically. Continue reading
One of Nina Power’s photos from 9 December protests
Do you wanna marketise our education? We will educate your market!
SOAS Occupation 2010
The first snows of winter have come early but it’s beginning to look like things are hotting up. The second mass student demonstration in a fortnight, and more to follow. One student website declares: ‘We shall not stop until we break the government’s cuts programme or we break the government’ (NCAFC).
It seems a whole generation is learning very fast the meaning of political betrayal. A few months ago, Nick Clegg and the Lib-Dems promised to oppose any increase in university fees. ‘Hundreds of thousands of students, voting for the first time, took him at his word and “agreed with Nick” at the ballot box’, writes Nick Faulkner over on Counterfire. On the 10 November demonstration, he says, ‘The sense of betrayal, and the consequent anger against Clegg, was visceral’. Now all Clegg can say is that he ‘massively regrets’ having to break his promise—you bet! May it yet prove his comeuppance. Continue reading