Saturday, 5 March 2011

Statement about cancelled lecture

We, Aber Students Against Cuts, have occupied A12/A14 since February 22nd in order to protest the ongoing marketisation of higher education in the UK and the lack of transparency and political engagement of senior management at Aberystwyth University specifically. As a result of this, we have set up a free university as a way to consider alternative learning spaces and engage in debate with students, staff and members of the general public.

We believe in education as an important public good and therefore would like to reiterate that all scheduled lectures are proceeding as planned.

While we have indeed invited members of the UCU to join us on Monday from 12pm for informal discussions and debate (everyone welcome), there were never any plans to disrupt lectures.
Any cancellations as a result of this invitation are the responsibility of the lecturer in question and we would advise you to email him/her in this regard.

Please find our invitation to the UCU below for clarification.

'Aber Students Against the Cuts' cordially invites all members of the UCU to a buffet lunch in the Occupation at A12 between 12:00pm and 2.00pm on Monday 7th March.

The purpose of this invitation is to encourage and facilitate a dialogue between member of the UCU and ASAC in order to seek common ground by exploring those issues that are of concern to all of us, and will become more so over the coming months.

Over the last three months ASAC has been actively campaigning against both the imminent funding cuts to HE and the planned rise in the cap on student tuition fees. In this time, we have organised two well supported Occupations on University premises; organised a number of high profile demonstrations in Aberystwyth; leafletted extensively; accumulated over 1500 signatures on a petition; organised trips to anti-cuts marches in London; attracted substantial press and media coverage, and established an agenda for a 'free university'. We have received support from many students and a growing number of academic staff (we would like to take this opportunity to thank those members of UCU who brought food and drink to the occupation as well as those of you who allowed us to give speeches in their lectures!) Our intention is to continue our activism by continuing to provide a platform for the issues by offering a challenge to the received wisdom that a reduction to the HE budget and a shrinkage of HE itself is unavoidable.

However, it is our belief that to do so we have to engage more directly and constructively with academic staff and other groups affected by these changes. We are convinced that staff and students have similar concerns and interests in relation to the imminent cuts to Higher Education, but that only by communicating and collaborating can we realistically hope to regain any control over the future of both our own University and Higher Education more generally.

Part of the problem appears to lie in the unavailability of a 'site' for such discussion, and the failures of both staff and students, given their institutional roles, to meet outside of their respective contexts. It is for this reason that we have initiated this lunch time event to introduce ourselves, discuss these matters, and consider ways of moving forward.

Please consider joining us at 12pm this Monday to discuss how we can collaborate to reach our mutual goals and better collaborate in the future.

Thanks for your time and attention,

Aber Students Against the Cuts.

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