On Tuesday the Browne report came out, recommending removing the cap on tuition fees. This was followed by an email from the Senior Management Team (SMT) predicting Goldsmiths would lose £15m per year from its teaching budget for the next few years.
The level of projected cuts which could result from the implementation of the Browne report is unlike the scale of what any of us have ever faced. What would a 20% cut do to our jobs, courses, libraries, facilities, support services?
Also, what would happen if students were expected to pay £7,000 a year, or possibly more, in fees? This would result in England having the the most expensive public degrees in the world, with families having to shell out between £76,000 and 136,000 to put two children through university.
If there is an open market in fees, this will create a 2-tier university system, with the most well-resourced universities charging the highest fees, and the most under-resourced universities charging the lowest. This would drastically exacerbate inequality in education.
The report also proposes to create a market in student places which it suggests will facilitate a large reduction in public funding which ‘may be equivalent to removing all funding from anything other than priority subjects’. Goldsmiths, because it focuses on arts, humanities and social sciences, will be particularly vulnerable. Because of this, it is especially important that we rise to the challenge.
The scale of the cuts will require a response that is immediate, powerful, united and effective. We need to combine all our educational, campaigning and mobilising skills to make the strongest possible protest to government. We urge everyone to attend the demonstration on the 10th of November (http://demo2010.org). We also encourage you to participate in anti-cuts actions, including: the march at 4:30pm on the 20th of October at Lincolns Inn Fields; the Lewisham Anti Cuts Alliance public meeting at Goldsmiths, at 7PM, also the 20th of October (http://on.fb.me/dz9c8B), and the SERTUC march on the 23rd of October (assemble 11AM Chalton Street)
SMT have a responsibility to join our campaign to defend education. We call on them to not accept the Coalition Government’s argument that there is no alternative, or the cuts for which they have no mandate. We also call on them to defend Goldsmiths’ unique character as an institution that both supports cutting edge research and also has a strong widening participation agenda. We ask them to support our campaign against education cuts and to put pressure on politicians, particularly Liberal Democrats, to stick to their pre-election pledge.
Goldsmiths Students’ Union, Goldsmiths UCU and Goldsmiths Unison
15th October 2010