Dear Professor Smith,
In response to the outcome of the vote to cut state funding in higher education today, 9th December 2010, the Exeter Occupation Alliance hereby pledge to continue to fight what we understand to be an ideological move on the part of the current government. We do not believe that cuts must be made to the public sector in response to the current deficit, and we also believe that making cuts to higher education will not, by any means, prove beneficial to the educational sector as a whole. By supporting the increase in tuition fees, we feel that you have misrepresented thousands of students and staff today, and many more students and staff of the future, both as vice chancellor of the University of Exeter and president of Universities UK.
We are therefore making the following pledge in response to an overwhelming show of solidarity among students, staff, and the general public across the country and around the world. We pledge to:
– continue to oppose these cuts and do everything in our power to challenge the ideology that they represent.
– continue to organise marches of protest at the University of Exeter, in the city centre, and across the country to show our commitment to overhauling the outcome of the vote.
– continue a policy of occupations of university buildings at times when the University of Exeter and Universities UK support or propose new action to the detriment of students and staff working in higher education.
– continue to lobby and petition our local MPs for a reversal of this new legislation.
– petition for a full public inquiry into higher education reform to be undertaken by an independent body.
– continue to challenge the University of Exeter and Universities UK when we feel that their actions and decisions misrepresent the greater good of students today and in the future.
– support staff industrial action taken in response to redundancies.
– fight for Exeter to commit to lead the way for widening participation, meeting and surpassing pledges of other universities.
– continue to build links with students and staff groups at other universities, trade unions, anti-cuts alliances, and other organisations to coordinate a unified opposition to this legislation.
For us, and for many other student and staff groups across the country, losing the vote on cuts in higher education today marks the launch of an energetic new campaign, and we hereby pledge to do everything in our power to fight this new legislation until it is reversed.
The University of Exeter Open Occupation