Students occupy Scots university over course cuts


Strathclyde students protesting outside university last week.

By Alan Robertson

STUDENTS at a leading Scots university today (Mon) occupied a campus building in a last-ditch bid to reverse cuts to courses.

Strathclyde University has seen its Geography and Sociology department the scene of a sit-in by students.

The move comes ahead of a crucial meeting of the institution’s governing body tomorrow to determine the fate of four courses facing the axe.

Under the plans, geography, community education, sociology and music are all to be scrapped from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences offering.

Strathclyde Students’ Association President Philip Whyte insisted direct action remained the “only effective tool” left at students’ disposal.

The proposed course closures, which would see up to 25 jobs lost, were last week overwhelmingly backed by the University’s leading academic body – despite persistent pleas from staff, students and the wider community.

Around 150 demonstrators last week gathered outside the offices of senior management to voice anger over the proposals.

Student leader Whyte said: “Since the outset of this campaign, staff and students have been united in their condemnation of these proposals, and the impact they will have both on the university and the wider community.

“We’ve been clear that not just has the timing been unreasonable, but so too have the supposed justifications for targeting these courses – all of which has so far gone unheeded.

“When the university has roundly failed to listen to us and our concerns in a meaningful way, peaceful direct action remains the only effective tool to make our voices heard.

“Today’s action is about reclaiming our university and ensuring that it is made clear that these decisions will not be taken lightly.”

The cuts to courses come a little over a month after it emerged university bosses had earmarked its theatre, art gallery and head of music for the axe as part of measures to save up to 12 million.