Education is a public good, not an individual investment or private service. Its value cannot be expressed in monetary terms.
We demand that UoM management publicly express support for a free education system, funded by the taxing the rich, and do everything in their power to realise this goal. We want a living grant for every student, wherever they are from. We also demand that UoM management do not cut the Manchester Bursary; they should increase it. We want to be part of a university which does not invest in the fossil fuel industry, but rather makes positive social change. We do want a university that treats its international students as equal to any other – not as cash cows.
We recognise that these problems are exacerbated by self-serving management structures in our university as elsewhere, but ultimately stem from national political and economic choices. Only a system of free, publicly owned and democratic education can address these issues.
Those who are already marginalised in society are going to be hit the hardest by five more years of a Tory government. A £12billion cut to the welfare budget means the scrapping of the disabled students allowance; it means £500million being funded by making migrants pay to use the NHS; it means the already massive 24% cuts to further education getting worse; it means the counter-terrorism and security bill deepening the isolation of Muslim students; and it probably means a lot, lot worse that we are yet to find out about. It should be a priority of our campaign, and of the university, to protect the most vulnerable students, whose rights are only going to be quashed even more over the next five years.
We demand that, in the event of the government charging migrants and international students for use of the NHS, the university covers the cost for all students, as well as lobbying the government for a full repeal of the policy.
We demand that the university does not implement the Counter Terrorism and Security bill.
We demand that, as the government continues its attack on further education, the university of Manchester does not cut its access programmes, which are important in ensuring that students from working-class backgrounds can access university.
Students currently have no say in the appointment of the Chancellor. This could result in Peter Mandelson – the man who commissioned the Browne Report which precipitated the rise in tuition fees – becoming the ambassador of our university. This is symptomatic of a lack of democracy within the university which reinforces the position of students as if they were passive consumers.
In the short term, we demand that the all students and staff are given a vote in the upcoming election of the chancellor.
However, this is not sufficient in the long-term. Therefore, we demand a student-staff body, directly elected by students and academic and non-academic staff, responsible for making all managerial decisions of the institution. The university is nothing but the sum of its parts. Students and workers are at the essence of this institution and thus should have direct and democratic control.
We demand that the university introduce the necessary changes to become an accredited Living Wage employer and end zero hours contracts for university staff.
We demand that the university adopt a 5:1 pay ratio in order to close the disgraceful pay gap between university management and workers, as well as make radical steps to address the deplorable racial and gender pay- gaps that currently exist.
We stand in solidarity with the staff currently facing the threat of compulsory redundancy as a result of the university’s plans to alter their redeployment policy. We demand that the university fully cooperate with UCU and abandon these unnecessary changes.
We demand that the university recognise the important contribution of their postgrad teachers and pay them a fair wage. We demand that all departments cooperate with UCU to introduce contracts that clearly stipulate the duties and pay for GTAs (graduate teaching assistants), many of whom are currently employed under terms that are severely lacking in transparency.
We demand that the university halt the trend of casualization in academic work. We demand that they reject the Warwick ‘Tech-higher’ model and the outrageous disregard for the welfare of education workers it represents. We do not want our teachers to be forced into precarious employment.
We demand that the academic integrity and freedom of university researchers is respected and that the output based financial model of evaluation is replaced with a more equitable method.