On Wednesday 17th November, London South Bank University (LSBU) security shut down a meeting called by Defend LSBU! Defend our Education! to organise our response to repeated attacks on our education. Security staff informed us that we are no longer allowed to “organise anti-cuts campaigns on campus”. Students who tried to remain were informed that if they did not leave they would be removed by force.
To be denied the right to discuss and debate issues that affect students is a direct attack on our freedom of speech.
Defend LSBU! Defend our Education! is a legitimate, democratic group opposing the cuts at both LSBU and nationally. Like other anti-cuts groups in universities and communities across the country we have a right to unite the people opposing the cuts by the Coalition Government. We condemn the actions of London South Bank University’s management in attempting to stifle and suppress a democratic movement because they feel it has “potential to create disruption”.
The recently proposed rise in tuition fees will force many people who have the potential and the right to broaden their horizons into crippling debt or, worse, prevent them from starting university altogether. Beyond higher education cuts, our welfare state and public sector will be smashed by these Coalition cuts forcing us to pay for a crisis we did not cause.
LSBU is openly becoming a business facing university, as demonstrated by the reasons given by management for shutting down the language centre. This has denied an invaluable chance for many students to learn a second language. This measure, combined with cutting emergency loans for students, is in clear opposition to the University’s corporate slogan “students first”.
Defend LSBU! Defend our Education! will stand against any undemocratic action by LSBU. We are calling on all students, anti cuts groups, unions and lecturers around the country to sign this statement and oppose the actions of LSBU management in banning the campaign from campus.