subtext 191 – ‘fresh from the fridge’

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A new dawn has risen on a new day and a new government. Our next chance to change things in Westminster will probably be in 2025. Shall we just go back to bed?
The need for a university which challenges the marketisation of education, defends its international community and champions free speech has never been more important, but as subtext has reported in issue after issue, our management has been merrily pursuing exactly the opposite strategy for years. Our governing bodies show little or no knowledge of the issues which make our students and staff feel less and less welcome – and our students and staff have little or no knowledge of what our governing bodies do in our names.
There are, however, some reasons to be cheerful. Our students have finally realised that a students’ union governed by unaccountable appointed trustees and advised by ‘student juries’ is no way to represent their interests. The results of two referenda in Week 8, one on the proposed sale of the Sugarhouse (see subtext 190) and one on how many trustees should be elected, showed emphatic opposition to the former and widespread support for electing the majority of the latter. The trustees have decided this week to abandon the Sugarhouse sale – ‘you voted, we listened’ says a LUSU press release, which raises the question of just why the trustees had the discretion to not listen in the first place. Meanwhile, our UCU staff have recently taken strike action, with significant support from students and other campus unions.

This is no time to lessen the pressure on those in power, be they sat in University House or Westminster. If the last ten are any indication, the next five years will be dark. The most vulnerable amongst us – the disabled, those from overseas, the sick – will be bearing the brunt of it. It may be tempting to give up, but if we don’t fight now – when?

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