In solidarity with the national day of student direct action, we have occupied the roof of Grove House in Roehampton University in protest against the devastating cuts facing the higher education sector and society at large. We intend to do no physical damage to university property, nor harm employees or students in doing so. We intend to stay here until we either decide our protest has been effectively conveyed or we are forcibly removed.
We have taken this roof because we refuse to idly watch while we see the tory-led coalition government render higher education sector from sector, teacher from teacher. All the while recent investigations have revealed that Vodafone has seen a £6bn tax bill waived and Tory MPs have been widely involved in tax-avoidance schemes via off-shore banking systems.
We refuse to sit by while our universities are transformed from centers of social, academic and personal development into mines for the human mental resource. We do not see students, teachers and courses as a raw mineral ore to be extracted and profited from. The current government, under the ideologically convenient advice given by the Browne report, now sees universities more than ever not as a learning experience for in the individual, but as pistons for the wider economy.
The prevailing zeigeist understands education as nothing more than economic enterprise, a source of profit. That is why the arts are facing 70% to 100% cuts, because unlike maths and the sciences, they have no direct money making potential. But education cannot rest on the bottom line. In an era where our generation faces some of the biggest challenges of recent times, as climate change is allowed to continue unabated and the world’s financial svitructure seem to be constantly on the cusp of a second monumental collapse, education needs to maintain it’s culture of creative thought. Facing these challenges will include, but also go far beyond a good head for numbers. During instability, students educated in the basics of human rights will be valuable global citizens, as will those with a well rounded sense of history, for example.
We are not against business venture or universities and businesses collaborating, but we are against the unchecked usurption of university and college management by entrepreneurialism, and the subsequent re-prioritisation of courses and resources based on money making potential.
Furthermore we refuse to sit by and watch our university, amongst others, bend over and take the consequences of the cuts. We demand our university stands up to be counted among those resisting the demolition of our services, communities, and prospects.
Now is the time to fight! We are the artisans of our future. We must unite to craft a better Britain for all.