Goldsmiths at centre of student protest controversy

Headmaster: It appears that someone has altered your copy of the timetable with red pen.
Cool teacher: That's right, I did it. To teach my class that any system that relies on a timetable is by definition crap. That's right I said 'crap' in front of the headmaster's 'Galen from Planet of the Apes' face. I expect I'll get in quite a lot of trouble for that later on."

Goldsmiths staff drafted the open letter from Academics in support of this week's student protests. Sky News reports:

The lecturers who wrote it, John Wadsworth, the president of Goldsmiths lecturers' union, and Des Freedman, a lecturer in communications studies, have now tried to clarify their points.

They said: "We do not condone the violence but we understand students' anger. We do not want students to be scapegoated.

"The violence in our statement refers to the impact of the cuts in both education and further education. If people read the statement they will understand why we felt it was necessary to support the tens of thousands of people on the demonstration."

Goldsmiths Warden Pat Loughry has moved to disassociate the College from the lecturers' actions, issuing a statement saying:

I would like to make it clear that the statement reported in the press, by local University and College Union members, in no way reflects the views of Goldsmiths, University of London. The College completely disassociates itself from those opinions.

[Thanks to Tressilliana]

131 comments:

Tressilliana said...

The College management is (predictably and understandably) not pleased.

http://www.gold.ac.uk/student/feature2/title,23191,en.php

Anonymous said...

Very irrsponsible, the letter could have been written differently and now they succumb to public anger. I hope Goldsmith's reputation doesnt get too tarnished.

Lou Baker said...

I could help save Goldsmiths some cash - fire these morons now.

Cllr Mike Harris said...

Quoting Fist of Fun - that's why Brockley Central is always essential reading.

Ymmit said...

'Tarnished?'

Enhanced I and many would way.

Brockley Nick said...

Who is the real violent man in this so-called society? Is it the student, smashing in the windows of repression and economic injustice?

Or is it the business man? In his suit and tie? Smashing the window to knowledge for our young people with his user-pays principle?!

Cllr Mike Harris said...

Stuart Lee told me he still has Pliny the crow in his attic.

Mortor Board said...

Obviously the man in the suit dont care,they have done there stint at Uni.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah this two didn't mean the violence demonstrated on Wednesday.

As pointed out in another thread these two dismiss the damage as 'one broken window' nothing to get wound up about.

This is VERY similar to the view of one of the first people who entered 50 Millbank and a lecturer at Leeds University.

Coincidence?

The female spokesperson seen on the media supporting 'direct action' recently wrote a lengthy blog (via iPhone) about her explusion from the Socialist Workers Party and congratuled like minded sole the President of Goldsmiths students on his election victory.

Notice how they ignore or 'weren't aware' one of their fellow travellers attempted to cause serious injury with a fire extinguisher.

These lecturers know it's extremely unlikely they will face direct action for their actions or would cry wolf if they ever did.

I notice these lecturers are prepared to take the governments filthy money rather than provide their skills for FREE.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't there some so called professor at Goldsmith who said something about hanging certain people from lamposts?

Brockley Dogging Society said...

I've always said that lecturers should be well hung.

we cannot allow violence said...

I hate tuition fees. I think the British totally undervalue education and that tertiary education should be free - not on loan - to those who cannot afford it.

Having said this, I also think our society needs law and order ahead of education. To see WPCs with blood streaming down their faces was horrible and to see "fire extinguisher boy" laughing as he chucked a lethal weapon at the police line, disgusting. I hope he's caught and serves time for this. (It is at least "gbh with" if not "attempted murder" and punishable by life.)


As for the "lecturers", well they looked more like babyfaced students to me so I think we can dismiss their little self serving bleatings.

An unfortunate consequence of all this is that I won't physically or financailly support the students further on the principle as I don't want to be linked with a rabble, and this "dissociation" (pls note) I genuinely regret.

Monkeyboy said...

Talking about the troubke and not the whole fees thing. Whether or not you condone or understand what happened, as a tactic I'm not sure it helped.

I wasn't there, it clashed with my public sector afternoon siesta, but the footage on CH4 news seemed to show a mix of hardcore nutters and some students along for the ride. I remember going nuts in a hall of residence with a fire extinguisher. Not clever but it happens when you're young and stupid.

Monkeyboy said...

If you allow yourself to be swayed either way by the bloke with the fire extinguisher then you've really not given it much thought.

This will affect students for years to come, the trouble a particular demo does not affect the argument.

Anonymous said...

Update 2pm, Friday 12 November 2010:
Following recent interviews broadcast by the media, Goldsmiths is pleased to see local University and College Union members condemn the violence used during Wednesday’s tuition fees demonstration.


Well, the uprising didn't last long. Guess it's getting close to pay day?

Trixie said...

"To see WPCs with blood streaming down their faces was horrible"
Yes, it is horrible - but why does the media ALWAYS mention if it's a WPC? As if in some way this makes it worse? A copper is a copper and the WPCs entered into the job with the same expectations of the risks as 'PCs'... As a woman, if I've been deemed fit and capable to do a job then end of story - no need to refer to my gender.

hilly dogger said...

we don't discriminate by gender Trixie, women are often fit and capable

Anonymous said...

MB - I think this protest and the associated violence has achieved exactly what it set out to. It's kept the story in the news and it's let the government know that people aren't willing to sit around and do nothing as future generations are thrown on the scrapheap.

And to the other MB (Mortor Board) - this will affect everyone in some way if it's allowed to happen. In the most immediate way, the man in the suit will have kids to fund through uni.

What's actually needed is a total overhaul of the education system and the way that businesses select recruits.

Its currently getting to the point where you cant get a job without having a degree (regardless of the subject matter) which means that everyone HAS to go, which obviously means there are a lot of people currently at uni who don't need to be there (and don't need to be running up the associated debt).

Anonymous said...

I was actually taught by Des Freedman at Goldsmiths. He is one of those teachers that inspires, and makes you believe that things are worth fighting for.

We should be proud that Goldsmiths fosters a culture that doesn't roll over and accept the status-quo. This culture has left a lasting impression on many of the people who live in New Cross and Brockley.

Anonymous said...

He is one of those teachers that inspires, and makes you believe that things are worth fighting for.

From which extremists are created if Wednesday is anything to go by.

I bet he inspires people to only fight for what he believes in.

Reading his 'clarification' he sounds like a general who leads from behind.

Anonymous said...

*****I was actually taught by Des Freedman at Goldsmiths. He is one of those teachers that inspires, and makes you believe that things are worth fighting for.

We should be proud that Goldsmiths fosters a culture that doesn't roll over and accept the status-quo. This culture has left a lasting impression on many of the people who live in New Cross and Brockley.****

totally agree. I applaud the students.

we cannot allow violence said...

Trixie, Point taken. I actually surprised myself by my own reaction. I WAS more shocked that it was a woman PC pictured. Some instinct overrode your more logical way of thinking, I quite agree.

THose who support the violence, please ask yourself what you are really fighting for. If it's free education, don't be violent as you can see where it's got you - back to square one or worse.

If your purpose is general anarchy and hatred for some reason of the world, it's been well served.

But have a think?

Anonymous said...

What is "communications studies", please? If it is as the name implies, why did a "lecturer" in this "subject" have to issue a clarification of his original statement?!l

Anonymous said...

Anyone heard of the Water Buffalo theory? One of the herd will take it upon itself to attack a prowling lion, then the rest of the herd join in. One could see how an agent provocateur might begin an action that others soon follow.

Anonymous said...

Its currently getting to the point where you cant get a job without having a degree (regardless of the subject matter) which means that everyone HAS to go.

....isn't that because the numbers going to uni has increased, if the numbers is reduced employers will drop the degree requirement.

Most of the conspirators backing the violence seem to have made a career out of being publicly funded by the men in suits.

If students of Goldsmiths passed round a collection bucket among the residents of Lewisham, they'd most likely piss in it rather than give money after Wednesday.

Go to Goldsmith's and learn how to break windows and give someone a bloody nose.

Many Lewisham kids can probably do that already without a costly uni education.

Anonymous said...

We should be proud that Goldsmiths fosters a culture that doesn't roll over and accept the status-quo."

Same here, I walked out on one their shows...same riffs and notes over and over.

...and bobbing heads!!!

Lou Baker said...

Communication studies tends to be taught by failed journalists.

It's very much a case of those who can't, teach.

MCF said...

Instead of talking about violence perhaps you'd all benefit from reading this piece in the London Review of Books by a Cambridge Don.

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v32/n21/stefan-collini/brownes-gamble

Professor Collini pretty much demolishes the lunacy of the Browne report and demonstrates how the "reforms" destroy the notion that university is about providing an education.

Anonymous said...

What is "communications studies", please? If it is as the name implies, why did a "lecturer" in this "subject" have to issue a clarification of his original statement?!

Probably means he spends his time with his feet up reading newspapers and watching TV.

It gives an excuse to ogle page 3 and enjoy 'X-Factor' while condemming them to naive students.

He's a 'benefit scrounger' living off the goodwill of others, who are prepared to pay their taxes so he can maintain the status quo of his lifestyle to the detriment of others.

Anonymous said...

Someone has been arrested apparently and charged with "violent disorder". Very lucky - he could have been charged with MUCH worse than that.

Just a thought - what IS the purpose of a university education in Britain today? Is it to prepare directly for specific jobs? is it to educate people to think adn analyse and debate? is it to gnerate more mature people?

what exactly is the aim?

I actually don't know but, if we did know this, then we could start achieving it, it seems to me.

What does everyone else think?

Brockley Nick said...

Re: communications studies. We nearly all of us spend all our time talking about the power of the media who wield it, its influence over our culture and politics, how to make money from it, how to regulate it, censorship, libel and a host of other issues.

We all seem to be agreed that these are issues of national importance and yet there are many who sneer at any attempt to study, teach or research it. Ironically, those who do, tend to get their views straight out of the Daily Mail.

Whether or not this particular academic is any good at it is a different matter.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 16.09 No, he lived in Lewisham but was a lecturer in East London not Goldsmiths.

TooManyAnonymi said...

Firstly too many Anonymi in this discussion!!

Secondly, I do not believe that the main culprits of the violence on Wednesday were actually students. If they were I believe that there main objective was to be cause damage rather than prove a worthy point. Unfortunately there are too many bad eggs in this world who just seem to enjoy violence and aggravation.

I believe that we need to stand up more for what we believe in, like the French do but I don't believe violence is the answer.

With regard to tuition fees I feel it is fair that graduates pay a contribution to their education but there should be a fixed limit of £6000PA for the top courses. However, major cuts to the university funding could be detrimental to many valuable courses and institutions Inc. Goldsmiths.

We need to stand up against these cuts without resorting to violence.

Anonymous said...

We all seem to be agreed that these are issues of national importance and yet there are many who sneer at any attempt to study, teach or research it.

Ironically, those who do, tend to get their views straight out of the Daily Mail.


Rubbish...that's what left wing lecturers will say to justify their pre-concieved propagandist opinion of the media.

Point of information it was The Daily Mail that named 5 individuals as the murderers of Stephen Lawrence.

By coincidence the Stephen Lawrence centre had a window smashed and his plaque attacked a number of times.

According to the Goldsmith's propagandists they should only be regarded as a window and a piece of metal, nothing more.

Anonymous said...

Ahhh.. The mail, the last bastion of responsible journalism.

So back to the point, what is the best way of funding further and higher education?

Anonymous said...

Reduce the number meaningless courses, reduce the number of students, reduce the number of lecturers and reduce the number of students.

Anonymous said...

In 2005 the year before Top-up fees were introduced there were a total of 405,369 applicants accepted onto university courses.

The number of full-time students gaining places at UK universities in 2007 rose to a record 413,430, bouncing back after a decline in the first year of top-up fees.

Anonymous said...

What about charging foreign students over the odds?

mollhench said...

People seem to be rather focusing (as the media did) on the few rabble rousers and neglecting to mention the 50000 peaceful student protesters making their voices heard - on an issue that is worth making a fuss about. This is just the beginning of the erosion of education.
I am quite heartened to see that students are prepared to stand up and be counted on this issue and are not sitting at home watching Loose Women.
I don't condone the violence but I do think some of you may have only seen the side of the story the media presented to you. By all accounts Millbank workers were standing on the balconies gesturing and goading protesters before their workplace was invaded.

Anonymous said...

We have a democratically elected government and groups with vested interests such as the violent thugs who caused criminal damage at Millbank and the public sector unions should not be allowed to undermine that.

The bottom line is that we as a country have been living beyond our means (and no, it wasn't all down to the bankers). This can't continue, so although these groups may not like it, cuts must be made.

We have a ridiculously bloated public sector and every penny paid in income tax isn't enough to cover the welfare bill. Are people really stupid enough to think that things continue as they are?

Georgia Harrison said...

Des Freedman is a very engaging lecturer, who encourages students to think critically about the relation between media and politics. I now know first-hand how this works, after being at Millmark Tower, then seeing the way the media reporting on it was completely biased.

It's disappointing that the British don't seem to get behind students, who are, after all, demonstrating, not for ourselves (most of us will have finished by time these cuts are implemented), but for the whole society that the govt is trying to restructure. Then again, I guess the people who these cuts WILL affect aren't Brockley bloggers.

Keep calm and carry on said...

"every penny paid in income tax isn't enough to cover the welfare bill"

Another poorly thought out assertion. We seem to have money available for aircraft carriers, railways, health etc... There is the money, the debate is where and how to raise and spend it and whether we should reduce it.

" bloated public sector" well perhaps it is and perhaps it isn't. Just how bloated do you think it is? And where should it be cut? The pledge that "front line services" will be protected is looking increasingly weak.

As for the trouble, it's quiet possible to understand why it happened, support the students but not condone that particular tactic.

yes civil disobedience can undermine authority and even weaken the rule of law. But our democracy is quiet robust and can cope with a poke in the ribs. The law belongs to us, it benifits from being challanged. In fact allowing disention and tolerating strikes shows how robust it is.

Crowds can take on a life of there own, especially when feelings are running high. How about we ban football matches? How much damage and thuggery does that attract?

Calm down, the barbarians are not at the gates. The angry mobs will be chartered accountants and conceptual artists in a couple of years. That's when the trouble really starts.

Anonymous said...

@Georgia

I'm sure Mr Freedman is very engaging if he has a desire in 'grooming' naive innocent students to his way of thinking.

His recent communique demonstrates where he is coming from politically and I'm sure his political believes would give him a biased opinion of the media.

When people talk of 'bias' they often mean the media dared to air the views of someone they disagree with.

The media is sooo biased, the public can see the same images/stories and form differing opinions....I blame the media.

It would appear many students have been mis-informed, (the NUS or the media?) claiming they face debts of £30,000.

Look at the uni student figures 2005, 2006, 2007 for evidence that scaremongering had more affect on student numbers rather than the actual cost to students.

As for....

"I guess the people who these cuts WILL affect aren't Brockley bloggers."

Isn't that media biased on your part?

Due to the financial situation some incomes have dropped by two thirds and private pension funds have decreased.

While National Insurance charges have increased and the levy applied in Lewisham to pay for an unsustaniable public pension scheme has increased.

Cuts have already had significant impact on private companies that service public organisations.

Or in your biased opinion do you think everyone should work for the state?

Have you not noticed the debate on here about the proposed closure of Crofton Park library and the reduction in other local services inparticular adult care?

Are you suggesting there are no well off Brockley bloggers and therefore they have not been affected by the slashing of child benefit?

Or is it your opinion well-off Brockley bloggers don't have children?

Anonymous said...

@Keep Calm

We seem to have money available for aircraft carriers, railways, health etc... There is the money, the debate is where and how to raise and spend it and whether we should reduce it.

So you would thrown Clydeside workers on the scrapheap and paid far more in penalities than the cost of continuing to construct these carriers.

We can't afford the planes for these 'aircraft' carriers, one will mothballed. There is talk of selling one to India.

The MOD have to claw back a £35bn overspend and at the same time reduce spending by 25%.

You may have missed the French & British joint defence sea venture.

I've just checked...back in February 80,000 tons of steel had already been ordered from Corus.

At least 10,000 upto 15,000 jobs were at stake in Newcastle, Liverpool, Glasgow and Fife.

Scrapping the carriers unfortunately was not a financially viable option.

Lou Baker said...

@Georgina Harrison

You'd do well to spend less time blaming the media and more time blaming the dimwits who smashed up Millbank tower, harmed police officers and threw a fire extinguisher off a tall building right into a crowd of people. There is no bias in that - it all happened and your lecturers were idiots to write a letter which appeared to support it. The policeman who was nearly killed by the fire extinguisher throwing thug was just doing his job. He has kids. They nearly lost their dad. But hey, to your lecturers, that's not real violence. Their letter is pathetic.

If I were you I'd ask the 'communications expert' exactly how good he is at his job if he didn't realise putting his name to something so dumb was going to end badly.

Tressilliana said...

Anon 23.03 - students from outside the EU pay far higher fees than EU students, because universities don't get any subsidy for them. On the other hand, there is no limit to the number that universities can take. There is a cap on the number of EU students the universities can take for each subject, and they get fined if they don't hit their targets (whether they end up above or below - a brilliant wheeze from the last government). The universities are taking loads of non-EU students in an effort to get more money in.

Tamsin said...

Georgina is quite right that media reportage of protest is biassed. Not that there is anything particularly sinister about it - it is just the nature of the beast. Smashing windows and injured police make much "better" footage than thousands of peaceful protesters well controlled. Equally if the police had over-reacted and started beating up harmless marchers that is what would have been filmed.

It is very hard indeed for a peaceful well organised protest to get the publicity it warrants. The Central Hall in Westminster was packed with pensioners a couple of weeks back - standing room only - but nary a mention in the News.

Anonymous said...

"The policeman who was nearly killed by the fire extinguisher throwing thug was just doing his job."

A policeman's job is the protect the intrests of state, therefore his job makes him a legitimate target.

Peaceful protest is all well and good, but violence not only has to be an option, sometimes it is the only option.

Anonymous said...

I wish the standard of discussion on this board might improve.

Some posters seem to revel in their ignorance - on both sides of the discussion.

Perhaps a bit more education would be appropriate for you ignorant lot. Perhaps a trip back to university for you all...

But then again perhaps not. University isn't about getting you to come to reasoned opinions anymore. We don't want critical thinking. All we want are people who can pay taxes.

The problem with the changes to the University system is that students - who have no idea about what might be good for them educationally - are being given the power to define what will be taught. The result will be less education and more dumbing down. Read the bloody report that someone posted. It doesn't take much!

Anyway, I have to say a move to Australia is looking more and more appealing given the level of discussion in this country....

Misinformed, misguided and no one can be bothered to read beyond their preformed opinions....

We are all doomed.

Welcome to 2010 said...

What have you done to elevate matters? Good luck having intelligent conversation in Australia.

Monkeyboy said...

I've lived in Australia. I'd make sure you have a return ticket.

Mb said...

"A policeman's job is the protect the intrests of state, therefore his job makes him a legitimate target"

Oh please, we're harldley living under Big Brother.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Brockley Nick said...

Anon 1137

University lecturers are agents of the state, indoctrinating our young people with so-called "facts". That makes them a legitimate target.

monkeyboy's job on the railways is to build the infrastructure of the state, so that human cattle can be ferried to and from their so-called "jobs" to pay taxes to support the state. That makes him a legitimate target. etc

Grow up. This isn't The Matrix. There is a spoon.

The Cat Man said...

I am completelybehind the students and lecturers on this, it is disgusting that we cannot 'afford' to pay for a government funded world class education system. The government is basically using the 'free market' to force students to pay and select courses that employers expect to see. This slaps right in the face of a free thinking educational system, we are all slaves to big companies now.

We will never generate a new Karl Marx, Adam Smith or Keynes if people are forced to accept the conventional free market principles in higher education.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

ok how about this not so boring comment then Nick....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYIC0eZYEtI

Anonymous said...

read stefan collini

Anonymous said...

read something - anything please

Get informed - then have a discussion

Brockley Nick said...

1Anon, first of all, please give yourself a name - hard to tell which one of many voices you are.

Secondly, I've just taken the trouble to read the Collini article. It makes some of the same points that have already been discussed on several threads on this site - such as whether we risk creating a market that rewards only the more commercial degree courses and whether it abandons the concept of education as a public good. And whether it's a good or a bad thing that Universities should be subjected to more or less "consumer choice." Collini takes the view that people don't know what's good for them.

So rather than patronising people, perhaps you should look at what has already been written.

Collini's article could also be read in the context that he is an English scholar who feels his subject might be devalued in comparison with some other courses.

There are many other academics and experts who feel that the country produces too many arts graduates and not enough science graduates.

I don't think the world will come to an end if the pendulum swings back the other way. Nor do I think that arts degrees will disappear, because as has been pointed out many times, the main determining factor in terms of your future life earnings is not what type of degree you have, but that you have one, full stop. Marry a degree with the kind of drive and soft skills which employers look for and you should be fine. These soft skills are what I think employers mean when they say that grads need "business awareness" but Collini is very sniffy about the very notion. He is wrong to be so.

Never mind the University market, there is already a huge financial incentive in the jobs market for people to study maths, since maths grads get hoovered up by the city and technology companies. That hasn't stopped people studying English or Art thus far.

The question has already been asked: what is University for.

That, for me, is the key question, from which all other decisions must flow.

I think it's for a lot of things, including enlightenment for enlightenment's sake. Understanding more about the world surely helps to give meaning to our lives. But there are lots of ways to learn - now more than ever.

The main role of University, in my view, is to give people the skills and knowledge they need to create future wealth - whether that be as doctors, environmental researchers, engineers, writers, business administrators, public servants or anything else. To dismiss the importance of this role as "just creating good future taxpayers" is childish.

If we want to create a more enlightened society, then University has a role to play, but so too does the school system, public broadcasting, public funding for the arts, public procurement of architecture, etc, etc.

University education is a public good (generating social and economic benefits for us all, not just its recipients). It deserves some subsidy, the question is how much and how it's delivered.

Getting poor people to subsidise the future rich is not necessarily the best way to build a new enlightenment.

Brockley Nick said...

People should check out TED. Free, inspiring lectures available on demand. They won't give you the skills you need to be a geologist or a teacher, but they will broaden your mind.

Brockley Nick said...

Also, read this - the cost of education will trend towards zero thanks to digital technology. I don't agree with all of it, it certainly challenges the idea that people will be denied opportunities for life-long learning http://on.mash.to/4ljSpR

Monkeyboy hiding in a cellar said...

Newsshopper headline

"Blog mogul calls for revolution, 'Monkeyboy must die!' says Brockley Nick"

Anonymous said...

The same person said:

"So rather than patronising people"

and

"They won't give you the skills you need to be a geologist or a teacher, but they will broaden your mind"


right then

Brockley Nick said...

Just responding to your suggestion that we were losing education for education's sake by pointing out that there is a free resource dedicated to that aim. Not intending to patronise.

. . . and the rest , , , said...

I have read several reports that over 100 other academics have put their names to the original letter, but cannot find any evidence of this.

Could anyone point me to it please.

Wendy said...

Georgia Harrison. Of course it affects us; at least as much as you.

I have kids - when they are older, they will either have to pay more to get a degree or I will have to pay more on their behalf. It doesn't affect you and I bet you don't have kids or have had to work and pay your own way yet.

There's no easy way to pay for half the country to have three years of expensive education. Don't pretend there is.

Anonymous said...

I am lucky enough to be a goldsmiths student, not only did I do my Ba there but I am now training to be a primary school teacher.

The lecturers there are nothing short of amazing! They have changed mine and a number of students lives with their support, words of wisdom and the passion they show for education.

I hope this stays with Goldsmiths, they have a history of being active and political. They have always taken a stand to support and defend what matters.

They are standing up to protect their university and they types of people that go there.

It is a shame that all that has been reported by the media is the issue of tuition fees. There were a wide range of people there protesting against a variety of huge cuts to our education system.

Anyone that was there and anyone who goes on to support this action should be congratulated.

I am proud to have been there and still be part of Goldsmiths.

Osh said...

So what were the other issues / cuts? Genuine question!?

Anonymous said...

Education maintenance grant, you used to get £30 a week to stay on at college. That would help if you saw your mates go into work, that small grant may just encourage you to better yourself. Further education, which seems to be forgoton, is being hit in all sorts of ways

.......... said...

Osh I think Anon was referring to the 100% budget cuts to Arts and Humanities subjects. This means that Uni's such as Goldsmiths, London School Economic, Royal College of Music etc could lose all their pubic funding as they have no science based courses.

Anonymous said...

its not just arts and humanities it also includes social sciences.

Happily economists will also no longer get the benefit of public subsidy as they fall into the social science category!

Pointless social science anyhow. Couldn't predict their way into a proverbial p*ss up in a brewery!

Lou Baker said...

I had an Education Maintenance Grant. Or, as I called it back then, a Saturday job. It paid me more than £30 a week and it meant that I didn't need to be bribed to stay at school. I wanted to be there.

Students have never had any money. Part of being a student is that you're always broke. It has ever been thus.

But no one is forcing students to spend their evenings, weekends and holidays drinking. They could be doing part time jobs to help fund their studies. But I bet most won't even consider it.

Anonymous said...

I'm begining to think Lou is creation of some unholy alliance of Richard Littlejohn, Norman Tebbit and a glove puppet.

Anonymous said...

Nick, good to see that you've taken the time to get informed and come to an opinion based on something more than the commentary found in the papers.

The point you are making is that the sciences somehow deserve public subsidy in a way that other non-scientific subjects do not.

Personally I would disagree with the point. Most creatives that are employed by the PR world come from far out "whacky" places like Goldsmiths. To have a vibrant creative society you need more than science.

The question is why the state should value science more than non-science. In my opinion it is because they are only valuing research output in hard cash terms. The LSE makes a massive contribution to research in the UK but it isn't on the same level as Imperial.

How will we know what LSE's impact will be. Most political theorists have to be dead before they show they might make a contribution to society. Should the LSE be penalised for this difference in disciplines? Personally I don't think so. The human experience is more than can be encapsulated by scientific hypothesis.

In my opinion, to have people committed to democracy we need education to ensure that citizens take the time to engage with the issues and are not fobbed off by establishment nonsense. It is easy for those in charge to try and pull the wool over our eyes. The challenge is to hold these people to account. Subservient, compliant unthinking obedience only makes that task easier.

University asks us to engage with our prejudices and look at the world afresh. Removing this asa possibility only serves to make it easier to restrict public debate to that proposed by politicians and the civil service.

Why we should assume they know best is beyond me. Indeed my experience is that they don;t know what is best. Nonetheless, all the time we fail to educate ourselves it become easier for them to argue that we do not know how to govern ourselves.

University is a public good. The cuts make it easier to undermine this in favour of the perspective put forward by the economists.

The problem as a previous poster has observed is that they do not know what they are doing....

Anonymous said...

I expect Lou doesn't have many chums, or if they do they're the kind of people who could suck the joy out of any situation.

I'm off for a beer.

Anonymous said...

Do you really think 'they' are attacking the humanities so that 'we' will become more subservient? OK.....step away from the keyboard mister.

Anonymous said...

yes

Anonymous said...

ok, at least we understand your of the "9/11 was a hoax" persuasion. That helps us in giving the comments all the credibility they merit.

Anonymous said...

Specialist subjects gave students the best chance of finding a job, with 99 per cent of medicine, dentistry and veterinary science students finding work.

In contrast, just 82 per cent of computer science students and 87 per cent of creative arts and design students were able to find a job after graduating.


Figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency

Anonymous said...

point being? And so these people never found work?

Anonymous said...

man alive Anon 21.53...

you mean to say that 9/11 was real?

Blimey I thought it was just a way of showing that I have crap arguments....

Anonymous said...

Daily Mail disagrees with Lou....shocker.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1329466/SUZANNE-MOORE-Stick-wielding-Leftie-yobs-Not-lovely-boys-I-met-pub.html

Anonymous said...

How naff a lecturer is Des Freedman if his students have to ask why the media give so much coverage to the violent thugs?

This is from part of his comminque about the violence...

“Yes, that got out of hand, but yes, it also got media attention across the world.”

In response to the organisers of the march describing the violence as "deplorable” and “despicable”.

Des Freedman and his brothers in arms wrote...

“We wish to condemn and distance ourselves from the divisive and, in our view, counterproductive statements issued by the UCU and NUS leadership concerning the occupation of the Conservative Party HQ.

That didn't need clarifying it's transparently clear what Des is about and he sees the purpose of an university education to persuade others to his way of thinking.

Otherwise, he will send his mates round to physically 'persuade' those with a different opinion to change their minds.

Anonymous said...

Yeah that's right ALL those students were trots and ALL their lecturers want socialism.

They're all in it together that 50,000 mob of roudy idiots.

None of them have a point. They are just being ideological.

The overthrow of the state...

That'll be next if we allow these people to voice their belief that these changes will produce a more divided society.

Get some perspective said...

An occupation and a sit in is in convenient, the extinguisher thing was unacceptable, the broken window was unnecessary. The demo, of 50,000 strong, was undeniable.

This country has had demonstrations that ocasionally get out of hand for hundreds of years, we seemed to have coped quiet well. It not unhealthy

Lou Baker said...

Lordy.

The lefties have a fit if anyone even dare suggest that students consider part-time work to help fund their studies.

They scream if anyone questions the need for a small borough like Lewisham to have 11 libraries. Or if you suggest the Blackheath fireworks shouldn't be free.

Tell them that a £400 per week cap on housing benefit is still really rather generous and the pinkos will scream. Proposing the unemployed are made to undertake some work in return for their benefits makes their blood boil.

These ultra-lefties think they're good Samaritans. Robbing from the rich to pay the poor. They're not. They rob from the rich and use the money to keep the poor in
poverty.

Be in no doubt students are being selfish. They'd rather money went to them to fund their drunkenness rather than it being spent on the elderly, infirm and disabled.

Pinko policy has failed. Let's hope Dave and Nick can put it right.

Anonymous said...

@anon 23:06

It is the view of Suzanne Moore a feature writer.

It's quite a tradition in the British Press to give space to all sorts of opinions.

For every Richard Littlejohn there's a Polly Tonbee.

Students claiming media bias have been badly taught by the likes of Des Freedman.

It's likely Ms Moore went to uni as did many in the media, it's also likely they have sproggs that are or will go to uni.

Therefore when they report on student fees etc they will have in mind their own adorable cherubs and self interests.

A newsreader on the BBC news channel said she is paid £90k, (for being able to read!.

Therefore it is possible these presenters have been hit by the new 50% rate, loss of child benefit and looking at the prospect of funding their childrens uni education.

Guess what it's all about money, not education.

University students are a priviledged group who are demanding the less educated and lower paid in society finance their 'free' education.

Poor Lou, overlooked for promotion again said...

Your rambling again Lou, the fees charged will go to the universities, not the bar tab. The cuts in funding affect the universities, not pubs.

Plenty of school kids don't do all their homework and eat sweets. Is that relevant in the schools funding issue?

Some students get drunk, well yes a lot do. People do, has nothing to do with the best way to fund education. Do you feel you've been cheated all you're life? I sense a simmering resentment.

Anonymous said...

09:27... What utter guff. Obviously people object because decisions affect them or people they are concerned about.

Tressilliana said...

Science and engineering are going to get some funding for teaching largely because it's recognised as far more expensive to teach these subjects (labs, equipment etc). I'm not sure once those costs are covered that the science depts will be any better off than the arts, humanities and social sciences. The student fees will have to meet the cost of salaries, library etc.


As the mother of a 16-year-old and an 18-year-old, I was very bothered by the fee hike. However, having look into it further, it is actually not at all accurate to describe it as a loan. It's far more like a graduate tax. You pay nothing until you earn £21k and then you pay 9% of what you earn over £21k. So if you are on £22k you pay £90 that year. The amount you pay goes up if you are a very high earner. And after 30 years if you haven't paid it all off it's written off, unlike your mortgage, if you can get one.

BWT, Lou, it's my impression that most students do have jobs, at least in the holidays. Lots of them transfer the part-time jobs in Tesco, WHSmith etc they got in the sixth form or during their gap year to their university town.

Prof. said...

As a University professor (of engineering) I deplore the violence at Millbank, and believe that the letter from the tutors at Goldsmiths was very ill thought out. However, I celebrate the 50,000 students (including many that I teach) for having the motivation and concern to demonstrate.

My favourite definition of what a University is for comes from the 1963 Robbins report which was:

. . . to preserve, extend and transmit knowledge . . .

However, Universities have always had other more utilitarian purposes. Initially (well from circa 1100 CE in the Western tradition) to provide an educated workforce for the state. In the 18th/19th century to provide an educated workforce in support of the industrial and scientific revolution. In the 21st century to provide an educated workforce for a knowledge and industrial economy.

What worries me is that in 2000, the UK had the third-highest graduation rate among OECD countries. 37% of young people were awarded a degree compared with an average of 28%. But in 2008 the proportion had fallen to 35%, below an average of 38%.

This reflects a corresponding relative decline in the amount of GDP which is being invested in higher education. It has been demonstrated time and again that money invested in higher education pays significant dividends over time. Other economies that are in similar straits to ours are increasing their investment in HE. Accordingly, by the mid 21st century it is most unlikely that the UK will maintain its top 10 position in the world wealth rankings.

This may, or may not, be a good thing. But it does indicate a change in how we will see ourselves.

Returning to students my intent, and that of my colleagues, is to educate rather than train. To do this we encourage students to engage in original (to them), critical, evidenced and judgemental thinking; and only those that demonstrate this will get the higher classification of degrees. They also pick up specific and generic knowledge and skills along the way that equip them to join a 21st century workforce.

(And BTW Lou the only ones that do not have part time jobs are those from very privelidged backgrounds.)

Georgia Harrison said...

TED lectures:

http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/2010/09/08/134-the-ted-conference/

max said...

"It is a known fact that Arts students firmly believe that they are doing you/society a favor by not getting a job and reading Proust. They use this to protest for reduced tuition, more money for the arts, and special reduced student rates on things like bus passes."

http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/2008/02/01/47-arts-degrees/

You asked for it Georgia.

Brockley Nick said...

Stuff White People Like = America's version of Quentin Letts "50 People Who Buggered Up Britain". Indeed, the Mail laps it up http://bit.ly/1rG10g

Brockley Nick said...

Touche, Max ;)

Anonymous said...

Keepcalmandcarryon - "every penny paid in income tax isn't enough to cover the welfare bill" is not 'another poorly thought out assertion' - IT IS A FACT.

Your assertion that the money is there is patently inaccurate. It seems to have escaped your notice that the UK has a massive deficit which is why it's necessary to make cuts.

It is also a fact that the UK's public sector is bloated. In addition, most of the people working in the public sector do not work in front line roles, so it should be possible to preserve these roles. Clearly decisions are being made not to do this (perhaps cynically).

Still keeping calm said...

So no roles are being lost on the front line? we'll notice no difference in our services. Great, cheers. Apart from the police, the army, social workers, libraries, social care... and do none of these organisations require back office staff?

A deficit is a bad thing, but not if payments are affordable, thats how bussinesses grow. Nations usually have deficits. We've had one for generations. We can decide how big it should be and how much we should tax and spend. There is no mythical perfect figure, it will never be zero.

Working a treat in Ireland isnt it?

Anonymous said...

30 September...

In the financial year 2009/10 the UK recorded general government net borrowing of £159.8 billion, which was equivalent to 11.4 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).

At the end of March 2010 general government debt was £1000.4 billion, equivalent to 71.3 per cent of GDP.

The Maastricht Treaty's Excessive Deficit Procedure sets deficit and debt reference levels of 3 per cent and 60 per cent respectively for all EU countries.


Looks like Britain has maxed out on its credit card?

Anonymous said...

So spending more money on university is what's need....mmmm

Ohio University economics professor Richard Vedder blames the cultural notion of "credential inflation" for the stream of unqualified students into four-year colleges.

His research has found that the number of new jobs requiring college degrees is less than number of college graduates.

Vedder's work also yielded something surprising: The more money states spend on higher education, the less the economy grows — the reverse of long-held assumptions.

"If people want to go out and get a master's degree in history and then cut down trees for a living, that's fine," he said, citing an example from a recent encounter with a worker. "But I don't think the public should be subsidizing it."

Danja said...

If BP can get in the state it got this year, imagine what a state it could have got in if it was stripped down to "frontline" workers.

(whatever they are)

Anonymous said...

Has Des Freedman been sacked yet for his inability to communicate to his students why the media gave prominence to the violence.

Not having been to uni, how does one qualify for a degree in communications studies, hows it judged?

Anonymous said...

We have a debt, we're paying the interest. We're not "maxed out".

My mortgage debt is higher than my income, I have a plan to pay it off. That's how debt works.

Anonymous said...

Report by Mark Chandler, News Shopper.....

A STUDENT arrested after climbing onto the roof of the Tory offices in last week’s tuition fees protest says he has no regrets.

James Haywood, the Goldsmith student union branch’s campaigns officer, was arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass and criminal damage after getting on to the roof.


Having presumably walked through and seen the broken windows, the debris and injured people he claims it was a non-violent occupation.

Somehow I wouldn't trust James Haywood to tell me the time of day.

This is not the first occupation by James Heywood. He claims Goldsmith's caved in within 24 hours to a previous occupation.

Taxpayers funding these priviledged students must ask what exactly is going on at Goldsmith's.

Jennifer Jones, PAID Campaigns Officer...

I have the role of.... Last year I ran several successful anti-privatisation campaigns on campus and helped organise the
national demonstration for free education.

....and watch out for the
Goldsmiths: Not For Profit meetings during next term.

I edit the student newspaper at Goldsmiths the ‘Free Press’.


It's amazing how often the word 'FREE' crops up from these priviledged benefits scroungers, who's education is heavily subsidised with money from the state and in Jennifer's case she is also being paid.

She's quite happy for herself and others to profit from the education provided by the state.

As a member of the 'working class' brought up in council housing, living on a below average income, paying income tax, national insurance, VAT, council tax etc...I'm fully committed to a 'not for profit' lifestyle while she profits by exploiting the less well off.

Does Goldsmith's have open days that allow the public to give these freeloaders an education?

Anonymous said...

@anon 7:10

My mortgage debt is higher than my income, I have a plan to pay it off. That's how debt works.

And what's your plan if you lose your job, sell the property?

Maybe you could advise someone who bought in 2007 and now finds themselves with negative equity and unable to sell?

Of course students at Goldsmiths would applaud that persons support for their 'not for profit' campaign.

Prof. said...

Anonymous 23:07

That would seem to be an impressionistic quote from a Prof.

One of the things that I emphasise with students is to avoid such 'evidence' and look to well conducted, critical, peer reviewed studies.

e.g. "Public funding and returns on education", Briefing Paper 29, Research Institute of the Finnish Economy, 2007.

"Those with a high return on education (Ireland and the UK)."

. . . and that is before the benefit to the individual is taken into account.



That would indicate

Anonymous said...

1) "As a member of the 'working class'"
Hey, me too! mum and dad both cleaners. I went to university thanks to a government grant, paid for by working heros like yourself and mum & dad. Lets hope £30,000 dept does not put of your children.

2) you're quoting the news shopper, lets not go there.


3) why does being paid to be an advocate for the students alter the argument? Charity workers are paid for their time - SCROUNGERS!!

4) I'd be concerned if students took no interest in how their sector is funded

5) the trouble was not the most important part of the event, the 50,000 people were. I expect many were from backgrounds like ours.

6) Studying humanities helps you think critically and with rigor, and i say that as an Engineering Graduate. In fact I think a few hours a week taken out of an Engineering or Science
degree to study History, Philosophy, politics or economics would be a fine idea.

7)Please don't use the News Shopper for anything other than lining the bottom of a rabbit hutch.

Anonymous said...

Yes, if I lost my job I'd be screwed. What you do is balance risk, how likley is it that the government will default? I'd say VERY unlikley.

This Is England said...

Why are you all getting so worked up about a bunch of students? Students are revolting, that's their job. One day they'll be just like you.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 8:48

Greece bailed out by fellow EU countries especially Germany.

Did someone mention Ireland, don't British banks and companies have investments there....and isn't teetering on the edge?

Who would have thought it.

I bet it was university educated whiz kids who dreamed up the subprime market and sold it on to fellow well educated university bods...who saw no risk to their banks.

Still ever so calm said...

Yes Greece, and now perhaps Ireland, could not service their debts. The UK can, with some margin. A good thing as cutting investment can impact growth and cause unemployment which further limits your ability to pay of your debt - a death spiral. Labour and the current incumbants are arguing about the pace, not the principle. People often say you shouldn't spend what you don't have, balls! thats how bussinesses grow and bridge the bad times. If you can service the debt you should be OK.

As for bankers, are your arguing that we should have less well educated people in those roles? Mistakes were made but I wouldn't want an economist palstering my walls and visa versa. Whats your cunning plan?

Prof. said...

Anonymous 8:44

Well said - but I would also be interested in humanities students spending a few hours doing some Engineering or Science.

Anonymous said...

@This is England...

I've never instantly turned to violence to express my opinion or make my point.

These are supposed to be intellingent civilised individuals educated to be wordly wise with the eloquence of language to debate rather than smash windows, attack anyone in their way or attempt to severely injure other human beings.

The anon from earlier said...

50,000 people didn't cause trouble. Get some perspective, it's quiet possible to understand the anger without condoning the tactics of a few (and it was only a few)

Prof - agreed. I've never understood the distinction, one informs the other. 'science' is only a few hundread years old, Newton saw him self as a philosopher of sorts.

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon 1320

German banks are among the biggest lenders to Greece and German bondholders are big investors in Ireland. Hypo Real Estate (owned by German Govt) has by far the biggest exposure to Irish debt.

http://www.istockanalyst.com/article/viewarticle/articleid/4654253

Anonymous said...

@ '7 wonders of the world' @ 8:44

I notice your university education didn't stop you become a snob and looking with dissdain at anyone who's dares to read a local paper.

Is this how students are taught to put the lower orders in their place?

Earlier another uni educated person took a pop at people who watch popular television, it demonstrates how some uni students look down apon and dismiss those less priviledged than them.

1) Why should any intelligent student be put off uni by irrational scare stories about fees.?

2) Shows your snobbery.

3) I can choose to donate money to charity, HMRC are not so understanding. If you and others feel so strongly form a co-op to fund students through uni.

4) At Millbank they showed a total lack of interest in funding, they were taking urine.

5) Read Des Freedman's comminque, the gist of which was ignore the NUS, be violent, as he boasted that caused "world interest".

6) Yes, the students at Millbank demonstrated their humanity for all the world to see.

7) I know my place...doffs cap and touches forelock.

Anonymous said...

What about the 0ther 49,800 demonstrators?


I'm a snob? no, I just think the News Shopper is a rubbish paper.

Anonymous said...

"I notice your university education didn't stop you become a snob and looking with dissdain at anyone who's dares to read a local paper."

I don't look at you in disdain, the news shopper is hardly rigeous source of news.

"Is this how students are taught to put the lower orders in their place?"

No


"Earlier another uni educated person took a pop at people who watch popular television, it demonstrates how some uni students look down apon and dismiss those less priviledged than them."

well I expect some do, most I'd say do not. Who do you think watches day time TV

"1) Why should any intelligent student be put off uni by irrational scare stories about fees.?"

Because the idea of starting working life with a £30,000 debt would perhaps be more intimidating to a student from a poor background - it would have put me off


"2) Shows your snobbery."

Like I say, it's not a great source of well researched information

"3) I can choose to donate money to charity, HMRC are not so understanding. If you and others feel so strongly form a co-op to fund students through uni."

I don't think universal education, healthcare and the like should be left entierly to charity. I don't have kids but am happy that my taxes contribute to resources only other peoples kids will use. I'm good like that

"4) At Millbank they showed a total lack of interest in funding, they were taking urine."

How many out of the 50,000?

"5) Read Des Freedman's comminque, the gist of which was ignore the NUS, be violent, as he boasted that caused "world interest". "

He didn't actually say that, no.

"6) Yes, the students at Millbank demonstrated their humanity for all the world to see."

You think the world would be a better place if we only studied science and engineering? We're engaged in a couple of wars at the moment. An understanding of history would help find a solution.


"7) I know my place...doffs cap and touches forelock."

No need, just get some perspective. Higher education is for everyone. I actually don't object completly about a grad tax but don't think the demo was a bad thing. Fire extinguisher boy and the guys who kicked a window in are not the main event. Nor is a poorly worded letter from some academics.

Anonymous said...

@anon 13:52

50,000 people didn't cause trouble. Get some perspective, it's quiet possible to understand the anger without condoning the tactics of a few (and it was only a few)

Tell Des Freedman, James Heywood and Clare Solomon to get some perspective.

They are the ones who pushed the violence as justifibale and the way to get the meassage across.

Anonymous said...

Even I leaving with a £18,000 loan would find the new figures unpalletable

Anonymous said...

@anon 13:31

As for bankers, are your arguing that we should have less well educated people in those roles? Mistakes were made but I wouldn't want an economist palstering my walls and visa versa. Whats your cunning plan?

So well educated they brought about a global collapse!

I suspect less educated people would be for more adverse to risk with other peoples money.

I assume well eductaed university chumps brought about 1966 and the IMF, 90% tax rate in the 1970's, recession in the 1980's, 'Black Wednesday' and the Gold sell off in the 1990's.

Costing us uneducated minions billions and billions over the years.

Yeah a university education has clearly benefitted the nation.

Anonymous said...

Still don't understand your solution? Educated people can get things wrong, do you not think a grounding in economics is required to run a bank or financial institution? Sounds like you agree with the austerity measures, they've been formulated by the very educated people you deride so we've not really got anywhere have we?

This Is England said...

@ anon 13.41...and one day they'll be just like you: po-faced and precious.
Its still not 1968, where did it all go wrong?

Anonymous said...

@Bill Gates 15:38

Even I leaving with a £18,000 loan would find the new figures unpalletable.

You need some educating from mumsy Tressiliana...

Having look (sic) into it further, it is actually not at all accurate to describe it as a loan.

It's far more like a graduate tax.

You pay nothing until you earn £21k and then you pay 9% of what you earn over £21k. So if you are on £22k you pay £90 that year.

The amount you pay goes up if you are a very high earner. And after 30 years if you haven't paid it all off it's written off, unlike your mortgage, if you can get one.

Thomas said...

If you are going to try and belittle other posters and be a pedantic sod, can you at least give yourself a name?

Thanks.

Ex-Brockleyite said...

It boils down to people determined to gain a significant monetary advantage over others through getting a degree, not wanting to pay anything for it - and expecting the rest of us to doff our caps in thanks for their selfless contribution to society.

The arts - unfortunately for creative types - thrive in adverse conditions, and less funding will create better art and rid us of those who are only at art school because their other academic results were so risible.

Goldsmiths itself is just creating more commodities for hedge-funds to manipulate and exploit. The art world has been corrupted beyond belief over the boom times - the only hope is for artists outside the establishment to work as hard as they can, develop their vision free from academic fashion and dogma, and try to avoid the annhilating embrace of Serota et al.

Anonymous said...

now THAT is a bleak assesment, thanks. So no historians, geographers, philosophers, archeologists..... These are important and enrich our lives. Or do you think we have nothing to learn from the past? a very ignorant attitude.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
oh really said...

What's rarely taken into account about education EMA funding, is that whilst some aspects of studying is pleasurable learning new things, being amongst peers, and yes some people make the most of the social life.
Studying is work, it can be v hard work.

max said...

Sounds terrible, no wonder people choose to clean sewers of go down the mines instead.

ucas said...

Great thoughts you got there, believe I may possibly try just some of it throughout my daily life...



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