Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Calling all students and lecturers - help stop cuts

Just before Christmas - which is starting to feel quite distant now - I blogged about the cuts to university funding. I'm pleased to learn the Anti Cuts Action Network (ACAN), launched a little while back, is shifting gear this term to respond to the news.

Specifically, a new website is in the process of being launched - see the new site HERE - to help co-ordinate the various campaigns emerging at different universities and colleges. Hopefully this will support the vital project of developing an organised national network to generalise from the few places where significant campaigns have already developed.

The new site explains: 'ACAN, the Anti-Cuts Action Network, is an activists’ portal and forum that aims to facilitate and support grassroots action against the government’s strategy to bring about wide-ranging cuts in higher education.

The government has announced cuts of 6.6% in the higher education budget for 2010-11, a drop which equals £135m, which is itself on top of the £180m already signaled in the chancellor's 2009 budget. While research funding at elite universities such as Oxford and Cambridge has been spared the knife, most other institutions will face severe and drastic cuts, with poorer students and teachers bearing the brunt.'

Most importantly, there's a request for students and academic staff to submit their own accounts and news of what's happening in their own institutions: 'To join in this network please send details of any news, cuts, campaigns or actions to or register with the site'. If this happens it can become a genuinely participatory site bringing together - and strengthening - the otherwise disparate resistance to university cuts. In the short term it will also promote the demonstration called for 26 January.

EXTRA: I forgot to mention the National Convention Against Fees and Cuts, taking place in London on Saturday 6 February. See the Facebook Event HERE.

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