Friday, 23 January 2015

Bath Spa Vice Chancellor's Day

Students at Bath Spa University celebrated their Vice Chancellor's Day in front of the Main House at the University today. Today, Vice Chancellor Christina Slade earned as much as the lowest paid worker in the university earns in a year.

Bath Students Against Fees and Cuts organised the party to highlight the pay gap between the Vice Chancellor and other workers at the university. In 2012-2013, Christina took a 6.4% pay rise, taking a new salary of £216,000 when other staff were offered a 1% pay rise.

The Vice Chancellor was unfortunately unable to attend her party as she was on a business trip to Washington at the time. "Probably staying in a 5 star hotel", said one student.

Cody, a student at Bath Spa University told us "It's gone very sucessfully. The samba is about to start to properly catch the attention of students and staff in order to highlight the important issue of pay disparity in the university."

                                                 Video of of the Bath Spa VC Day

The students brought cakes, bubbles, sparklers, party poppers, champagne and an 11-piece samba band to the party, which went on for nearly 3 hours, during which many students and staff members came over to join in the fun.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Neil Sammells, passed by the party and was invited to join in instead of the Vice Chancellor. He told students "I probably shouldn't."

Bath Students Against Fees and Cuts brought the idea of VC Days to the attention of students across the country in December at the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts conference, and other universities have been engaging in similar actions of their respective VC Days.

Bath Students Against Fees and Cuts will be holding another VC Day at the University of Bath at 12 noon on 2nd February, which will mark the date on which the Vice Chancellor will have earned twice as much as the lowest paid worker at the university.

There will also be a #FreeEducation march on Saturday 31st January, starting at Bath Abbey at 12 noon.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Vice Chancellor's Days - Coming to a University Near You Very Soon

Bath Spa Vice Chancellor meme
Bath Students Against Fees and Cuts have announced that they will be celebrating Vice Chancellors Days - the date on which the Vice Chancellor of each university will have earned as much as the lowest paid worker at the universities - at both University of Bath and Bath Spa University. This announcement comes just days after they announced that another march will be taking place on Saturday 31st January, starting at 12:00 noon at Bath Abbey.

The campaigners intend to hold parties with cakes and a large cheque to "celebrate" the occasion.

The dates and Facebook events for the Vice Chancellor's Days are as follows:

Bath Spa University - Friday 23rd January, 12:00

University of Bath - Monday 2nd February, 12:00

University of Bath Vice Chancellor meme
The University of Bath Vice Chancellors Day will be celebrating the date on which the Vice Chancellor will have earned twice as much as the lowest paid worker. They have also produced a pair of hard-hitting memes that have gone viral this evening on social media featuring the Vice Chancellors of both universities.

Meanwhile, universities across the country will be taking similar actions after members of Bath Students Against Fees and Cuts brought the idea to the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts conference back in December.

In a statement earlier today, Bath Students Against Fees and Cuts said:
"The protests over Vice Chancellor's salaries were designed to coincide with the day when their annual pay would have overtaken the pay of the lowest paid full-time staff. What we found most immediately shocking was how early in the year this actually occurs. In some cases, it is so early in the year that many students have yet to return from their Christmas break.

The initial intention was for a tongue-in-cheek celebration for the Vice Chancellor, the reason being to create a demonstration with a positive, non-intimidatory atmosphere to attract students who may be new to the campaign and new to activism in general. It was also hoped that the staff on campus would appreciate some cake, music and gentle mocking of the Vice Chancellor on their lunch-break.

The aim of the action is to raise awareness of the ridiculous pay disparity between the highest and lowest paid staff, pressure the university management to reassess the current situation and to embarrass the Vice Chancellor as much as possible. We hope that more education bosses realise that they can't get away with accepting six-figure salaries and pay increases of significantly more than other staff.

While Bath Students Against Fees and Cuts have been very proactive in promoting the actions, credit must be given to the member of University of Bath UCU who devised the original idea.

We are very excited to see that these protests are taking place nationwide and are looking forward to seeing what comes next.

Bath Students Against Fees and Cuts stand in solidarity with all students and staff who will participating in these actions. We believe the sharing of ideas between groups is imperative for the progression of the movement."

Monday, 12 January 2015

#FreeEducation March for 31st January Announced

Bath Students Against Fees and Cuts are already preparing for action in 2015, with the announcement of a march on 31st January, starting at 12:00pm at Bath Abbey. The march is part of a national day of action, which will see marches happen across the country.

Their previous march on 6th December 2014 saw in excess of 100 people, including students and other activists from various supportive organisations (those giving full support included Bath University and College Union (UCU), University of Bath Students Union, Bath Against Cuts, Occupy Bath and the Green Party), marching against tuition fees and the privatisation of education. The march was followed by a rally in the Southgate shopping centre. Speakers included students from both universities, Dr Michael Carley From Bath UCU, Joe Rayment from University of Bath Unison, as well as Dominic Tristram, the Green Party parliamentary candidate for Bath and Ollie Middleton, the Labour Party parliamentary candidate.

The campaigners want to raise awareness and keep up the pressure on politicians and universities, who during the term of the the current coalition government have tripled the amount students have to pay in fees to up to £9000 a year, and more for foreign students.

The description on the Facebook event page reads:

"The movement for free education has to be broad and based in communities as well as campuses. Education is a social good, and what we are demanding will benefit everybody - we have never talked just about the scrapping of fees, but about re-imagining a whole new education system.

Last December, marches for free education in local towns and cities were organised nationwide, including Bath. Now it’s time to march again, louder, bigger and stronger.

We will be assembling outside the abbey at 12 noon, and will be marching through the city with banners, placards, drums and our voices. We are organising a rally at the end of the march, if you or anyone you know might be interested in speaking about free education, the commercialisation of universities, or how government cuts are affecting students and staff, please get in touch with us.

Education is too important to be left in the hands of profiteers and corporations. It's time we took it back!"

The Facebook event for the march is here.