On behalf of BUCU, we would like to send our solidarity to the students taking non-violent action at the University of Birmingham.
We note your insightful press release, in which you rightly lament that the historic academic control of the Senate has been eroded so that it is now run only by the senior management.
We share your claims, “that staff and students should have more power in every level of university decision making. Currently a small class of senior managers benefit disproportionately from the fees and work of staff and students. They have total unaccountable power to harm our interests within the university and lobby against our interests outside it”.
We agree with your specific demands regarding the functioning of the University, staff salaries, student facilities and student bursaries but, more broadly, the importance of raising awareness of the degeneration of the University functioning and the erosion of democratic power and representation. We welcome your statement that, you “wish to start a debate and dialogue among students and workers at the University about the kind of institution we want it to be and how we can bring this about.”
Our higher education system is under a sustained attack that will turn the clock back on generations of social progress, democratic advance and educational achievement. This action is therefore an inspiration to staff and students seeking to oppose these vicious attacks.
BUCU welcomes the debate started by Defend Education, and give you our wholehearted support in fighting for change. We stand in support of the occupation and your demands for increased democracy, against fees and cuts, and in support of Nursing and the living wage at UoB.
The interests of students and staff are one and the same. The occupiers should be congratulated for their courage and determination to raise these important issues in the time-held tradition of student action and non-violent civil disobedience. Such methods of political dissent have been instrumental in bringing about some of the most basic – and now accepted as core – values in society. It is only sad that we live in times when such values as democracy, equality and job security are so severely threatened.
BUCU urges the University not to engage in any moves to victimise those involved in the occupation – and will actively campaign to support any member of the University community (staff or student) who is targeted by the University leadership for expressing legitimate dissent.
In solidarity with the students of the University of Birmingham.