Response to the ‘Defend LSBU’ Group:
Many thanks for your recent statement, we are pleased that you ‘appreciate the opening of communications between management and Defend LSBU’ and reiterate that we have always been open to such communication.
We are happy to acknowledge that the issues surrounding your meeting on the 17th November could have been better handled, on both sides. The actions of our security staff were not taken in order to prevent you legitimately discussing your opinions; they were taken because the room you were occupying had been booked by another area of the university (the Centre of Learning Support and Development) and was thus not available for that meeting. If you would please co-ordinate with the University in the future, I assure you that we will do our best to accommodate your needs.
We have already committed to establishing a fund to support students with emergency needs during the beginning of the next academic year. Through the Confucius Institute, we can provide study of Mandarin as an option for all students and we are quite happy to look into identifying alternative opportunities for students for students to engage in second-language studies alongside their degrees.
We would be pleased to arrange a meeting between all interested students of LSBU, the Vice Chancellor and myself, to discuss your concerns and to try and present a straightforward account of our strategic approach to the future issues of funding. Rest assured that we are equally concerned to be able to ‘defend LSBU’ in terms of ensuring that our students receive the best possible experience now, and in the future. We have to achieve this within the constraints placed upon all of us within the current financial climate, but remains our constant wish to drive up the quality of all we do within LSBU.
If we might suggest, it would seem best to arrange a meeting during next week, so that we can find an appropriate venue and enable as many students as wish to attend? (the Vice Chancellor is, in any case, not on site today). Can I suggest we go ahead with the organisation and let you know at time and place as soon as possible; we will, obviously, extend the invitation as widely as possible (including the Students’ Union in our invitation).
In the mean time, an without wishing to exert any undue pressure upon your group, we would be grateful to have some idea of your continuing plans. If your protest is to continue throughout the weekend, then we will need to adjust our security staff levels in other areas (to maintain the security and safety of your location) and this will mean curtailing opening hours in other areas. We do not present this situation to you as any kind of threat, it simply relates the situation that exist. We would appreciate an answer (you should feel free to email me) by 12pm, if possible, as we need to make preparations.
Dr Phil Cardew BA PhD FRSA
Pro Vice Chancellor (Academic)