Thursday, 9 July 2009

Model letter to MPs - sign new EDM 1763

Go here to see the EDM 1763, to find out who is your MP and how to email them the following letter (amend as necessary, and if preferred print and sign as a letter):

House of Commons

Dear ******** ******* MP,

As your constituent, and a member of staff/ student [delete as appropriate] at London Metropolitan University, I am writing to ask you to act urgently to save the university from the prospect of very damaging cuts.

We fear that these cuts will begin a spiral of decline from which the university will not recover. At a time of recession, London needs more educational opportunities, not fewer. As a widening participation university, London Met is very well placed to offer those opportunities to the students who need it most.

What is more, it remains very unclear how this situation has arisen. Given the conflicting stories about what happened, an independent inquiry is vital, in order to establish the lessons to be learnt for the future. Please ask the Minister for Universities, David Lammy, to set one up as a matter of urgency.

In the meantime, we are urging management to declare a moratorium on further job losses at least until the implications of the inquiry have been absorbed and a proper recovery plan drawn up. We know that there is money available to keep the university running until that point. If this does not happen, the scandal will damage the university beyond repair and the cuts will erode what is left of the university’s reputation.

Please sign the EDM no.1763 (from 29.06.09) and write to the Minister, David Lammy, and to HEFCE, urging them to intervene (formally or informally). There is very little time left to make a difference.

I am very grateful for your help.

Yours sincerely,


For further information please see:

Time Higher Education:

Adjournment debate: Hansard HC Deb, 20 May 2009, c435WH

EDM 1763 29.06.09 Jeremy Corbyn


Brief history of current problems (attached)

Brief history of the current problems

London Metropolitan University was found to have returned inaccurate statistics about student completions which resulted in significant overpayment of grant by the funding council, HEFCE. HEFCE are now asking for the repayment of £38.5m and have cut London Met’s annual grant by £15m. London Met’s executive blame HEFCE for the problem. The managers who had presided over this fiasco were then charged with coming up with a recovery plan. Their plan was approved by the Board of Governors despite the fact that it was produced without consultation and was entirely unrealistic. Not surprisingly, HEFCE rejected it. We have since learnt that neither HEFCE nor DIUS had any confidence in any of the people concerned.

Despite rejection by HEFCE, the university management are continuing to implement the plan. In January they announced that they intended to cut the equivalent of 550 full-time posts, around a quarter of the staff. Needless to say, despite this shrinkage, no management posts will go. The cuts involve the loss of significant areas of expertise: French, Civil Aviation, Silversmithing, Caribbean Studies, Theatre Studies, English, Asia Pacific Studies, Musical Instrument Making, Furniture; in non-academic areas there are plans to close the nurseries, outsource IT on the un-researched “assumption” that it would save money, and abolish the famous Widening Participation Unit. These are, in many cases, subjects in which London Met has an international reputation.

Even where courses manage to survive, the impact will be considerable. Staff will be asked to cover for the colleagues who are being dismissed, a clear sign that even if dismissed they are not really ‘redundant’. Students will face less choice of modules, larger classes, less contact time with staff, fewer librarians, IT and media staff, possibly more stress, fewer resources generally.

Both staff and students have tried to make representations to management but management will not listen. Alternative suggestions are treated with derision, consultation has been a sham, governors do not even read our letters. Management do not even seem to respect the statutory guidelines, equality legislation or the terms of our contracts. Recently the Human Resources department announced compulsory redundancies to take effect in three weeks’ time.

Staff are outraged that the people who were responsible for the financial problems of the university remain in place and refuse to accept any blame while those who had no part in it – staff and students – are bearing the costs. Staff have been on strike and will be on strike again next week. Students have organised demonstrations and occupied part of a university building in protest. However, neither engagement with management, nor protest has made a difference. Political intervention appears our only hope.

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