CAITLIN LAW explains what’s been happening at the IOE Bar and why she started a petition to save it.  In December 2014 UCL merged with the Institute Of Education (IOE), making UCL the biggest higher education institution in London. UCL management emphasised new opportunities to pool the academic expertise of the two institutions, but little was done to safeguard the social identity, community and history of the IOE. Although officially labelled a merger, this alliance might more appropriately be dubbed an absorption. While a UCL student is unlikely to have felt any impact of the partnership, staff and students at the IOE have been obliged to adapt to new management systems and restricted independence, and now a loss of control over their main social space. I started working at the IOE Bar less than a year after the merger, as part of the first round of student employees hired from…Continue Reading

Why I’m Campaigning to Save the IOE Bar

SELMA REZGUI reports on UCL’s Cut the Rent campaign’s recent success after they win £1.49 million in concessions from the university. The UCL Cut the Rent campaign has won £1.49 million from the university after five months of rent strike, showing that direct action yields results. The second rent strike in UCL halls in the last two years has come to a close after UCL has pledged concessions to student campaigners. UCL Accommodation will offer £600,000 of bursaries for first-year undergraduate students in the 2017/18 academic year, and will work with UCL Accommodation to reallocate a further £600,000 into rent cuts for the most affordable halls for 2018/19. After a five-month-long rent strike by 200 students, over the course of which strikers faced repeated threats of eviction from university management, UCL Cut the Rent have won concessions from UCL management, including an offer of £600,000 to fund accommodation bursaries for students in need of financial support in the…Continue Reading

Rent Strike Victory

CHARLIE MACNAMARA reports on the ongoing Occupation at SOAS as workers and students clash with management over justice for SOAS workers. On Monday 12 June students and workers at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) were attending a rally to commemorate the anniversary of the ‘SOAS 9’ — 9 migrant workers cruelly arrested and deported by the UK Border Agency at SOAS in 2009, abetted by SOAS’s management — when the management struck again with a shock announcement: the SOAS refectory is to be closed this August and a number of catering staff, already on zero-hour contracts, are to be made redundant. Later on Monday, students occupied the offices of the university’s directorate and on Tuesday 13 June catering staff held a walkout, with UNISON officially entering negotiations with SOAS management on their behalf, with future industrial action on the table. The SOAS Justice for Workers campaign, backed by…Continue Reading

Occupying SOAS: Justice for Workers and an End to Outsourcing

CHARLIE MACNAMARA reports on resistance from academics to management at UCL. The Academic Board at University College London are set to clash with Senior Management this Thursday at a meeting which threatens to reignite disputes over the institution’s woeful finances and increasing corporatisation. A group of high-ranking academics at UCL have formally called for a ‘Special Meeting’ to be held on Thursday 18 May, where they plan to convene a new ‘Governance Committee’ of the Academic Board with the task of ‘scrutinising strategic decisions’ about UCL’s future made by Senior Management.  Their intention is to return more democratic control to the Academic Board — UCL’s 1400-strong committee of senior academics — amid concerns about the Senior Management Team’s corporate regime and management of the College’s finances. This move comes shortly after it was revealed in The Guardian that 68% of UCL’s Academic Board have doubts about the financial management of the College and serious concerns about the…Continue Reading

‘A Battle for the Soul of UCL’