Message of support from Manchester Community & Mental Health UNISON

Message of Support to Occupying Students at Manchester University


Further and Higher Education Students who have opposed fees hike and abolition of EMA


Congratulations on your occupation of the Roscoe Building at Manchester University.


The recent demo’s on DayX and Day X3 in London and the demonstrations around the towns and cities of on Day X2 have been large, vibrant and impressive.


The colossal rise in University Fees from £3,000 a year to £9,000 a year is unacceptable and will definitely deter students from more disadvantaged backgrounds.


This UNISON Health branch is appalled at the shocking rise in fees and the level the coalition government has gone to in terms of it’s austerity measures.  The proposed and recent cuts in higher and further education, reduction in teaching staff and closure of many subjects limits access to higher education and also seeks to establish education as a means to future earnings potential rather than a way of learning.


We need the whole of society to come together and fight the austerity measures being imposed against us and students have lead the way to show us how to do this.


It is of course extremely disappointing that the coalition won the vote last Thursday but we must remember that it is possible to defeat legislation after it has been passed through Parliament.


The abolition of EMA will without doubt be destructive to the chances of many young people not only to go to University, but indeed to continue any education after leaving school.  The Government are wanting all young people to remain in education until 18 years of age yet taking away their lifeline to doing so.


This branch would like to offer support to all higher and further education students leading the way against the struggles and also to offer a financial donation of £500.


We need education provide us with qualified Doctors, Nurses and Allied Staff in the Health Service for decades to come and also for the health and well being of future generations.


In Solidarity

Manchester Community & Mental Health UNISON

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La lutte continue

On Thursday we saw the limitations of our democracy.  Inside parliament MPs voted to increase fess despite pledging not to in order to be elected.  Outside Parliament the police battered and horse charged thousands of school and university students in order to protest the liars and theives inside parliament.  We lost the vote that day but the campaign is far from over.  Poll tax was made law but was still defeated the CPE laws in France were passed then repealed.  Again and again movements have show if we carry on we can force the government to back down.

For just over 16 days students have occupied Roscoe B lecture theatre in Manchester University.  From the beginning we issued national demands seeing the point of being there as a base from which to build the biggest possible campaign against cuts, against fees and against attacks to EMA.  Using this space we held alternative lectures discussing how we can beat the cuts and what education should really be like.  Societies as diverse as the hiking club and socialist worker student society held events in our space.  Perhaps most importantly we used the space to design many different posters and leaflets and held mass organsing meetings bringing in around 300 to the biggest.  We also received messages of support from hundreds of academics at the University and many other people beyond.  We sent speakers out to trade union branch meetings across Manchester and in return got donations of over £1500 to send people to London marching against fees as parliament voted.  Overall the occupation has massively increased the profile of the anti cuts movement across Manchester repeatedly getting students onto local radio and put a spark of hope in many who were downbeat about the cuts.

Following on from the vote this week it is clear that our movement is not over, however we do need to pause and regroup our movement for a longer battle.  Following on from a mass organising meeting on Friday evening it was decided to leave the occupation for the time being.  Students will be meeting next week to plan action to stop the bill in the Lords and show the lib demo betrayers what we think of them.  We also decided to call a anti cuts teach in early next term to get everyone back together and plan our next steps.  The lecturers will be balloting for strike action then and it is vital we support them in their fight as they have supported ours.

We would like to thank everyone for their messages of support, money and food.  This is not the end of our fight, keep following the blog, keep marching in the streets we can still win this fight.  There will be a meeting of all occupiers, wannabe occupiers and supporters at some point in the next week to plan our next step and so we can finally have a drink together.  As they said in 1968 La Lutte Continue.  We will keep up the fight till the government has fallen and until education is free for all who want it.

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Letter from Tony Lloyd MP

This is a letter from Tony Lloyd, the MP for Manchester Central, to  UoM Lecturer Jerome de Groot.

Dear Dr de Groot,

Thank you for your correspondence about Tuition Fees. I have delayed responding to you because I wanted to see what the possibility is of the Government being defeated on this issue. What is clear is that Labour and all the other Opposition parties will vote against the trebling of Tuition Fees. However, it would require the Liberal Democrats, not simply to abstain, but to vote in significant numbers themselves against these proposals. As that now seems to not be the case, this originally Conservative policy is de facto being supported by every single Liberal Democrat MP who doesn’t vote against this legislation.

Such high fees are not necessary. They are going up so much because the Government has chosen to cut funding for university teaching by 80%. This will put Higher Education and access to Higher Education in serious jeopardy.

The Government will provide concessions to the poorest students, but students from quite poor or modest income households are likely to be the worst affected by these proposals. These high fees are not fair because graduates will now have to pay much more over a longer period. Graduates will be forced to pay the whole cost of most degrees (to replace the cut in funding), instead of sharing the costs with the state. As a result, graduates will pay much more overall, and pay back for up to 30 years. The talk of generous fixed rates of repayment is nonsense as real commercial rates of interest are being introduced.

None of this can remotely be justified even on the most spurious grounds on the state of the economy, as by its very nature and in the short term, it will increase indebtedness in our society.

With best wishes,

Yours sincerely,


Tony Lloyd MP
Manchester Central”

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“We, the undersigned, strongly support the peaceful occupation of the Roscoe Building in protest against the proposed higher education funding cuts. The withdrawal of government funding to the Humanities and Social Sciences can only do untold damage to the provision of teaching and research in these vital areas. To put the the financial onus entirely on the shoulders of future students will only discourage students from less advantaged backgrounds from applying to university. The government is following the principle of knowing the cost of everything and the value of nothing. If it succeeds, university education will be a poorer and far less diverse experience.

Tom Rasmussen
David Lomas
Mark Crinson
Colin Trodd
David O’Connor
Anthony Gerbino
Emma Loosley
Cordelia Warr

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Today’s messages of support

Today we’ve received so many letters of support that I’m just going to collate them all in one post.

“We members of the Discourse Unit (, a trans-institutional collaborative centre, currently located at Manchester Metropolitan University, which supports a variety of qualitative and theoretical research projects contributing to the development of radical theory and practice, send our solidarity to those occupying the Roscoe Building. Your actions are defending education for all, interpreting the world and changing it, intervening while reflecting in the best tradition of academic work.


Pam Alldred (London)

Jill Bradbury (Johannesburg)

Alex Bridger (Huddersfield)

Geoff Bunn (Manchester)

Erica Burman (Manchester)

Jane Callaghan (Northampton)

Rose Capdevila (Milton Keynes)

Daniela Caselli (Manchester)

Jude Clark (Durban)

Jan De Vos (Ghent)

Paul Duckett (Manchester)

Dan Goodley (Manchester)

David Harper (London)

Janet Low (London)

Ken McLaughlin (Manchester)

Vera Marten (Manchester)

China Mills (Manchester)

Pauline Mottram (Liverpool)

Calum Neill (Edinburgh)

Ian Parker (Manchester)

Rachel Robbins (Manchester)

Isabel Rodriguez Mora (London)

Sam Warner (Manchester)

Alexandra Zavos (Athens)”


Manchester Adult Education UCU branch support the student-led peaceful occupation of the Roscoe Lecture Theatre. Their action to defend the public funding of higher education and their opposition to the stated intention of the government to increase student fees and end the EMA are congruent with a belief in inclusive, accessible education, principles which are at the heart of society that values education at all levels. We offer our support.


Manchester Adult Education UCU



Martin Backhouse

Branch Chair

Denise Matthews

Branch Secretary

Jacqueline Goodwin

Learning Rep.”


“The undersigned, as academics, teachers, administrative staff and
researchers in the faculty of Humanities at the University of
Manchester are fundamentally opposed to the coalition government’s
proposal on the reform of HE funding on the following grounds:

•       Universities are places of education and there is a continuing
public interest in the provision of Higher Education in the arts and
humanities. Cutting the teaching budget of these departments by up to
80% poses a fundamental threat to the continued provision of high
quality teaching and research, and will have potentially serious
consequences in the long term for British education and culture.

•       We strongly believe higher education should receive strong
public funding and support, and that higher education is of value to
UK society as a whole. The proposed marketisation of education will
result in future students making decisions on higher education and
future careers in a purely economic manner.

•       There is a risk that increasing tuition fees up to £9000 and interest
rates on student debt will deter students from both poorer and middle
income backgrounds, and also deter students from postgraduate study.
This will be exacerbated by the ending of the Educational Maintenance
Allowance and the decision to scrap the AimHigher scheme. The
proposals will lead to a narrowing rather than a broadening of access
to Further
and Higher Education and a limiting of opportunities for people in
British society.”

(The previous statement came with an attached list of 252 signatories.)

“The Manchester branch of the National Union of Journalists would like to express its support for the occupation of the Roscoe Building at Manchester University and for other protest activities in the city by students from all its universities, colleges and schools.

It supports, defends and congratulates students in their resistance to the cuts. We also commend the independent press for its coverage of the protests.

Sent by Equality Officer Rachel Broady on behalf of the NUJ Manchester Branch.”


“We, staff of the School of Education, write to express our support for the campaigns against the education cuts and the magnificent campaign of action led by students.”

From Julian Williams, Professor of Mathematics Education  (UCU)

And via JW’s email from colleagues (some have provided their affiliation):


Terry Hanley

Alison Alborz (UCU)

Cate Goodlad (lecturer, MA Education)

William West

Steve Jones

Maria Pampaka

Dave Hall

Laura Black

Susie Miles

Rohhss Chapman (UCU)

John Hunter-Jones

Diane Harris (Teaching fellow, UCU)

Alan Dyson

Joanna Bragg

Aleks Jedrosz (NUT member)

Julian Edge

Richard Fay

Gary Motteram

Helen Gunter

Amanda Barton

Karen Roberts

Liz Harris

Olwen Mcnamara

David Leask

Anne Haworth

Chris Chapman

David Spendlove

Mike O’Donoghue

Valerie Farnsworth

Andy Howes

Catherine Schofield

Zeynep Onat-Stelma

John Morris (UCU)

Susan Brown

Craig Blyth

Howard Bond

Cormac Lawler”



I have just read about the movement against the cuts in the universities. From Mexico, we express our solidarity with your struggle. We must defend globally the right to education and that implies acting against privatization and other forms in which the state denies this right and transforms it into a merchandise. A lot of people support your struggle.

¡Ánimo, compas!



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CCUE Open Letter to Rt Hon David Willetts

To the Right Honourable David Willetts,

Open Letter from the Council for College and University English

As University teachers of English, we urge you to reconsider your proposals for the withdrawal of public funding for the teaching of the Humanities and Social Sciences.

We are deeply concerned both by the rapidity with which decisions are being made, and the ill-considered assumptions that underlie the proposals. According to the Browne report, just fifty hours of panel time have been devoted to ‘scrutinising the evidence, examining the options for reform and testing the recommendations’. A week, or slightly more, to remodel the entire basis of teaching in Britain’s Universities?

It is not clear to us that the market alone is an effective way of managing higher education; nor does it appear that any serious work has been done to predict the ways in which the proposed changes to that market will affect Higher Education institutions and the national and regional economies across the UK. The proposals are based upon assumptions about the different levels of economic and social utility of subjects in the Arts and Humanities on the one hand and those in the so called STEM area on the other. But the evidence of the last fifty years of Higher Education has demonstrated clearly that the skills, experiences and ideas that ‘non- priority’ subjects such as English provide are as fundamental to business as they are to the public sector. Society will be poorer for a lack of public investment in the arts and humanities; but business will be too.

Across a wide range of sectors graduates in English bring immense value to UK culture and the UK economy, making use of the rigorous critical training and advanced communication skills provided by University departments.

How can it make sense – in economic or any other terms – to withdraw public support from the teaching of subjects such as English in our Universities, with no serious analysis of either the assumptions guiding the decisions or their likely effects?

Professor Linda Anderson
on behalf of Council for College and University English

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Statement of Support from MMU – Law, Humanities and Social Science

As members of staff in the faculty of Law, Humanities and Social Science we would like to offer our support and congratulations on your continued occupation. It is important that people such as yourselves stand firm against the proposed rise in tuition fees, the demise of Aim Higher and the removal of the EMA. The result of the vote on 9th December 2010 will affect many generations to come and it is crucial that we stand up now, as how these cuts are handled will set a precedent for future public funding cuts. The government are ultimately heading towards a privatised and much reduced public sector which will be highly damaging to British society.

Your peaceful occupation of the Roscoe building is an important step in sending a message that proposed cuts to education will not be tolerated. Combined with the number of demonstrations, protests, rallies and other activities around the country a strong message is being sent to the ConDem government. Education is so important for all individuals as a means of combating social exclusion and promoting social mobility and to the country as a whole, as one of our strengths is as a knowledge economy. We therefore encourage and support your resistance to these cuts and will continue to do so in the future. Together we can defend education.

In Solidarity

Staff from Dept of Sociology and Dept of Politics and Philosophy at MMU

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