In response to the demands made by the group of students participating in an occupation at LSBU on Wednesday 24th November, Dr Phil Cardew, Pro Vice Chancellor, London South Bank University (LSBU) says,
“The University recognises and supports its staff and students’ right to protest in an undisruptive manner, as is currently the case with the sit-in. In addition, we have well-established and effective processes for both staff and students to voice their opinions and concerns; the Students’ Union provides a particular focus for student concerns with University policy, the President being a member of the Board of Governors and Students’ Union representatives being full members of Academic Board, Quality and Standards Committee and Learning and Teaching Committee.
Over the past year, amidst major funding cuts, LSBU has undergone a university-wide review of its business in an effort to safeguard its future and its student’s education – the key priority of the University. As part of this process the University has been unable to avoid redundancies completely and has concentrated on keeping these as low as possible.
In the case of the Language Centre, as part of the University’s business review and after a three month consultation process, the decision was made to close the unit and all staff were successfully redeployed. This decision was not taken lightly but deemed necessary as the unit did not align well with the University’s core business – to provide professional undergraduate and postgraduate degrees to its students. It was also accessed by less than 1% of the student body and was running at a significant deficit. The University is necessarily committed to sensible financial planning – to reverse this decision would not be sensible or responsible.
The language and literacy centre, LLU+ has also been included within the business review and was deemed to fall outside the University’s core business of providing professional degree courses for both undergraduates and postgraduates. At a recent meeting of the Board of Governors it was decided to cease the operation of LLU+ with effect from September 2011, whilst ensuring that all current students were cared for appropriately until their individual courses finished. The University continues to explore opportunities to enable LLU+ to continue operation outside the University, either through association with another educational provider or through establishment as a self-funding entity. The University is supporting senior staff within LLU+ in considering and exploring these possibilities.
The University is in solidarity with other higher education institutions in facing this difficult period of funding cuts. We recognise the challenging financial climate across the entire public sector, not just in the UK but also throughout Europe. We will continue to act in the interests of our students and staff, developing new cost-effective and financially-sustainable models of operation to help minimise any negative impact these external challenges may have on the student experience here at LSBU.”