1. Joint open statement by the LSE Students' Union, University and College Union (UCU), and Howard Davies (Director of the LSE) against the cuts, fees, and the attack on the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA).

2. No victimisation of Students or Lecturers involved in the occupation or any protests against the cuts.

Sign the Petition in Support

Read our public statement, here.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Occupation suspended- we will be back!

A Statement From the LSE Occupation

Since Thursday, December 2nd, students from the London School of Economics have been occupying the Vera Anstey Suite in the Old Building. Today we are suspending that occupation until further notice. We must stress the fact that this is not an end to our activities on this campus, only a brief pause. What must be underscored is that our demands have been addressed by the university’s administration. We did in fact receive an open statement from Howard Davies that outlined our areas of agreement. They follow as such: the implications following the withdrawal of teaching grants, the possible disintegration of avenues of accessibility for students, and the primary role of education for education’s sake, rather than a employee-producing machine.
Following the Emergency General Meeting held on Thursday, December 2nd, we received backing from the LSE Student’s Union when the student body voted in favor of the Union supporting the occupation. It must be noted that we received over 60% of the vote. Over heated debate, it was clear that the sentiment in the Old Theater was in favor of the occupation, with few dissenting voices voicing their opinions. However, their concerns do not apply to this occupation. The main arguments were that we would disrupt student learning on campus—which has been avoided—and that occupying is not a legitimate form of activism—which student’s across the country have also proven wrong in their widely-approved actions in the past month. The room choice was carefully chosen and we feel as if we have rendered all counterarguments impotent.
Our occupation was a free space with open doors, an occupation that provided alternative routes for educating students and citizens alike. We provided critical analysis of the proposed fee hikes and tuition cuts on how they would affect women, BME groups, and underprivileged citizens who deserve an education as much as anyone else. We tried to show our solidarity with those affected in our actions, and we hope we have achieved this goal.
Since 2 December, we have received intense international media coverage. Some journalists have even stayed with other occupations in order to thoroughly listen to the students. It shows that this was not just a political stunt. Rather, this occupation was highlighting an issue that deserves widespread criticism and attention. The internationality of these occupations also demonstrates that the attack on education and the undermining of publicly funded universities is a problem many other countries face. We will struggle in unity with those in conflict with such oppressive government policies.
Many MP’s, who would have otherwise voted for the tuition fee proposals, voted either against or abstained from the vote altogether. Ours’ and other’s activism in the past weeks made that happen. Yes, the coalition ultimately passed the bill, but with a much smaller majority than anyone in the government and the press expected. We made them look twice at the bill they proposed. We made them rethink everything they had but forward in front of a backdrop of lies.
We see occupations as legitimate and affective tools in garnering student activism, being able to gain attention by the student body and the public in general. We were not alone in our actions. Students and lectures at universities from all over the country took to occupying schools, libraries, classrooms, and lecture halls as a direct response to the coalition government’s deceiving, ideological attack on the education sector. If we have learned anything over the past few weeks, it is this: we have the public’s support. Messages of solidarity have been sent from Mexico, Croatia, the U.S., France, Italy, and from universities within England itself.
We at the LSE Occupation see continuing the occupation as an unsustainable practice with holidays coming up since many people are traveling overseas. However, we need to be clear: this is not over. We still view Howard Davies’s watered-down actions as a weak response to the proposals put forth by the government. His inaction, his refusal to write a joint statement with us is deplorable and we still urge him to reconsider his hard-headed stance on a ‘no collaborative’ approach.
Let it be noted that LSE students and students across the UK have awakened from their slumber. We are the new generation of activists and we will fight for the world we want to see. We will do so through non-violent means but we are ready to defend ourselves and the things we hold dear to our heart. We ask all students to join us in the struggle that will continue until every demand is met, until every MP listens to us, and until the government bows under the sheer power of public pressure.

Note of thanks:
We thank Security for their kind interactions with the occupiers.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

We got an open letter!

SO, we didn't meet our demands in full, BUT after pressuring the management through occupation, alongside engaging in serious discussion, we have managed to persuade Howard Dvaies to RELEASE AN OPEN LETTER setting out the schools' concerns on issues such as the Teachign Grant and the Tuition Fee Hike. WELL DONE EVERYONE!!! SEE BELOW FOR THE OPEN LETTER!

8 December 2010

Dear students

The Director, Pro Director Gaskell and I, on behalf of the senior management team, and you on behalf of the occupiers, discussed this morning our respective positions about the Browne Report and education cuts. You clearly have strong views on these matters along with many students in the UK. Guided by the Academic Board, which has six student members, and our governing body the LSE Council, which has two student members, the Director and colleagues have explicitly focussed on targeted lobbying about the impact of Browne and the cuts on LSE and the social sciences specifically.

Neither the Academic Board nor the Council has , as part of this process, authorised a joint statement with others . Hence a change in the LSE policy position at this stage is not possible. However, we did agree this morning that in view of student concerns we would attempt to identify areas of convergence between the student protestors and the School, on Browne and fees, putting previous statements, the freeze the fees campaign, and blanket condemnation of the Browne Report , aside .

To that end I highlight below, key extracts from the Director’s letters which seem closely allied to student concerns . The theme of the letters has been to highlight concerns “ about the impact of the overall package of reforms, and the profile of expenditure cuts, on the LSE and its future students. ”

Implications of the withdrawal of the teaching grant from the social sciences, and the notion of public value of the social sciences

The Director has stated in and out of the School his concern that the Browne “ proposals involved removing public support from subjects which are important for our society, our economy and the country as a whole”. He also said that “ the proposed cutbacks in public funding for teaching were too big, and were instrumentalist in their focus of public support in the future on certain subjects.” In this context the concluding paragraph of the letter to Vince Cable emphasises that the “ public value of the social sciences merits some continued government support.”

The Director returned to this point in his and the Chairman’s 6 December letter to David Willetts, endorsing Nick Barr’s remarks that “ what Browne and the government got wrong is abolishing the teaching grant for arts , humanities and social sciences , which implicitly assumes there is no social benefit from higher education in those subjects.”

Also in the letter to Vince Cable, the Director and Chairman criticised the Browne Report ’s ring-fencing of STEM subjects for T grant funding to the exclusion of arts and the social sciences. In this context they say: “were the recommendations to be implemented in the way implied in the Browne Report, we would not have any state funding for ANY of our Home/EU students “

Concerns about accessibility for students

The Director has gone on record to say that “ there is no doubt that a discontinuity of funding on the scale envisaged, and a major and sudden change in the fee regime, risks putting people off university , even if they do not have to pay upfront..”

Role of social science education in society and the role of employers

In the letter to Vince Cable of 19 October, the Director and Chairman point out that if the T grant is withdrawn, “ it would lead to increased fees in programmes which have not traditionally produced graduates with high earning potential but who nevertheless make a significant contribution to public life and to society”.

When writing to David Willetts, the Director and Chairman also stated that “ we do not think that we should point the whole School towards the short term needs of employers”. They went on to stress that the Browne proposals and language used by Ministers, will have the
“ effect of pushing students more into apparently vocational courses, which may be less rewarding and challenging , and of pushing universities into thinking that the employer is always right and that their role is simply one of servicing this short term need. This seems to us to downgrade the value of higher education and its role in society. “

You may regard this letter as an open one.

Adrian Hall
Secretary of the LSE

Attention: News on Simon Hughes!

On Newsnight BBC, Simon Hughes publicly announced he will vote AGAINST the tuition fee proposal.

"I won't be able to support the Government on the fee level for a combination of reasons but particularly because for a constituency like mine [the level of fees] may have a significant disincentive effect on the sort of youngsters who will go to university," Simon Hughes told Newsnight.

"I have a duty to listen to my local party members and my supporters in my constituency and on this occasion they have asked me to rebel and vote against – and break the coalition agreement."

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Message of support from the Dept of Philosophy, Logic, and Scientific Method

Message of support from the Dept. of Philosophy

Here is a message of support from the Department of Philosophy, Logic, and Scientific Method. A big "Thank You" to all who signed it! It goes:

We in the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method would like to express our support for the LSE student occupation, which opposes the proposed package of radical reforms to further and higher education. These reforms will see the tripling of tuition fees for students in England, extreme cuts to undergraduate teaching budgets nationwide – including a total withdrawal of LSE’s block teaching grant – and the complete removal of the Education Maintenance Allowance.

Our solidarity with the occupation is two-fold. First of all, there is the issue of how universities are to be funded. The proposed substitution of the block teaching grant with revenue from undergraduate tuition fees is tantamount to subjecting higher education to market forces, which will allow the government to look the other way while arts and humanities courses are forced to close due to lack of funding. The proposals for special state protection of STEM subjects reveals bias in the coalition government’s academic priorities, and belies their alleged confidence in the market to keep arts and humanities departments afloat.

Secondly, there is the issue of student access. Under the proposals in the Browne report, graduates of three-year courses will leave university with debts approaching £40,000. (The poorest 18,000 students, who under the current proposals are set to receive unsatisfactory state bursaries, will still leave with debts of over £30,000.) We expect that, in the face of such financial disincentives, students from low-income backgrounds will be disproportionately discouraged from attending university. Self-deselection in undergraduate applications on these grounds will lead to an unacceptable distortion of the socio-economic makeup of the student body. The removal of the Education Maintenance Allowance will make this situation significantly worse: it will prevent the poorest able school-leavers from continuing on to A-level courses, and obtaining the necessary qualifications for a university place.

We credit the students of the occupation for their proactive organizing and continued dedication to forestalling the proposed changes, and wish them all the best for Thursday’s protest and beyond.


Pablo García Arabéhéty
Professor Luc Bovens
Professor Nancy Cartwright
Adam Caulton
Dr Franz Dietrich
Dr Karin Edvardsson-Björnberg
Johannes Himmelreich
Jeroen Jonker
Professor Christian List
Becky Matthams
Maria Paz Mendez Hodes
Dr Kristina Musholt
Claire O'Donnell
Dr Armin Schulz
M D Sheren
Andrew Simon
Dr Katie Steele
Natalia Villalpando-Paez
Dr Charlotte Werndl
Prof John Worrall

The LSE Occupation meets with Howard Davies

This morning a meeting was held between six members of the occupation and Howard Davies (LSE Director), Adrian Hall (Secretary and Director of Administration) and George Gaskell (LSE Pro-Director).

Our discussion agreed on some common ground and we are now hopeful for the creation of a joint statement between the School, the UCU and the Students’ Union.

Demonstrate at Lynne Featherstone's constituency office today

NUS has called a demonstration at Equality Minister Lynne Featherstone's Constituency office for 11am tomorrow in protest at the rise in tuition fees' unfair impact upon women.

It has been revealed that Lynne Featherstone is considering not voting for the government's proposal on tuition fees.

Let's tell her in person to honour her pledge to students on tuition fees!

If we can persuade Lib Dem ministers like Lynne Featherstone to vote against the government, WE CAN STOP THE TREBLING OF TUITION FEES.


Her office can be found at:

62 High Street
N8 7NX

If you need any more info, call Christy on 07584070010.

Yours in solidarity,

LSE Occupation

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Correspondence with Howard Davies

Howard Davies today repsonded to the letter sent from the LSE Occupation. Further to this correspondence Howard Davies has agreed to a meeting with members of the occupation tomorrow (Wednesday) morning.

Please see below for all correspondence between the occupation and Howard Davies thus far:

The original letter sent to Howard Davies is as follows:

3 December 2010

1. Joint open statement by the LSE Students' Union, University and College Union (UCU), and Howard Davies (Director of the LSE) against the cuts, fees, and the attack on the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA).

2. No victimisation of Students or Lecturers involved in the occupation or any protests against the cuts.

Public Statement from the Occupiers of the Vera Anstey Suite, London School of Economics:

We, the occupiers of the Vera Anstey Suite, have been dismayed by the Directorate of the LSE’s failure to speak out against the coalition’s proposals to cut funding for further and higher education and raise tuition fees. We believe that this inaction is betraying both LSE’s staff and students and the founders of the school, who were committed to the pursuit of knowledge and to making this pursuit universally accessible. As the school’s own website states, the founders envisioned an institution dedicated to the betterment of society through the creation of social equality. The LSE prides – and promotes – itself on a history of progressive engagement with social policy. As Ralf Dahrendorf, former director of the school, describes in his history of LSE, “One of the distinguishing marks of LSE was (…) that it never remained silent.” (1995: viii). Yet in the current debate surrounding the future of higher education in this country, the silence from LSE has been deafening.

The proposed cuts to education and increase in tuition fees will make education less accessible. Education should be universally available by right and not according to privilege. We believe that its core aim should be to enable the critical, creative and independent thinking that is essential for any healthy democracy. Since the mid-1980s we have witnessed a marketisation of higher education that has steadily taken us away from this conception of education. We believe that commodification privileges an assessment of disciplines on the basis of profitability and students on the basis of employability. As members of a social sciences institution we are particularly outraged that these cuts aggressively discriminate against the arts, humanities and social sciences, showing an unacceptable disregard for these disciplines’ immense contribution to society. We strongly oppose this ideological attack on education, which is part of a wider assault on our public services and all those who use them and work in them.

It has been claimed that our opposition is based on a misapprehension of what these reforms mean. We reject this patronising claim. David Cameron and Nick Clegg argue that by not paying fees up front, education will become more accessible to people from low- and middle-income backgrounds. But by cutting the teaching budget and transferring financial responsibility onto the shoulders of individuals, the coalition’s proposals will gravely constrain opportunities and lock graduates into a life of debt. As many school and college students have already made clear, this acts as a disincentive to pursuing higher education. Far from promoting social mobility, the proposals will further entrench existing patterns of exclusion, particularly across lines of class, gender and ethnicity. We urge MPs of all parties, hundreds of whom signed personal pledges to vote against any rise in tuition fees, to oppose these regressive proposals.

We have been galvanised by the many messages of support that we have received from individuals and students’ collectives, trade unions and other groups across the world. We stand in solidarity with all those who are facing attacks on their capacity to realise lives of dignity, fulfillment and possibility. We reject the claim that cuts are inevitable. We urge everyone: workers and the unemployed, young people and the elderly, to stand with students and fight against these cuts. We demand the right to create alternative futures.

Howard Davies' response (receved Tuesday 7th December) is viewable in a PDF here-

In turn we responded with this letter later the same day:

Dear Howard,

Thank you for your response to the occupation’s demands.

Although we recognise and are thankful for the efforts that you have already made to make the case for funding social sciences, we do not agree that they are forceful enough.

Nor do we agree that they are extensive enough; our demands clearly include the proposed fee hike and the education cuts beyond the loss of our teaching grant. Saying this, we believe that there is more common ground between us than you have recognised. This occupation’s demands are about national issues, and therefore the Freeze the Fees policy is not an obstacle to our working together.

It is clear that the private letters and your appearances on news programmes have not made a strong enough impact. We welcome your offer to make the private letters public, but do not believe that this would constitute ‘doing your all’ to prevent these cuts and the fee hike. The value of a joint public statement is clear: it would send an extremely strong message to the coalition government that this institution, its students and its academics are collectively uniting in order to protect our public education system.

The stance of the School at this point is critical; we have seen pressure building all across the country, from school students walking out, to universities forcefully speaking out against the government’s proposals for Higher Education. LSE’s coordinated and collective voice is currently absent from this movement.

We have attempted to engage with you over this extraordinarily important issue and you call for collaboration in your recent student email. It is therefore disappointing to be told through your statement and in person on Houghton St that you do not see this as an opportunity to stand up in unity with students and academics for LSE’s progressive ideals. To borrow a phrase from your statement, we find it ‘inconvenient’ to have a director who is not courageous enough to represent the body and values of our university. UCU has now been in contact with you, and have voiced clear support for our “reasonable” demands. The motion that mandates the Students’ Union to support the current occupation saw more votes cast for a motion than any other motion in at least the past decade. In light of this, by continuing to refuse to work with us, you risk losing the confidence of large sections of our university body.

However, we have to work with what we’ve got, so we request a meeting with you this evening to discuss this issue further, and should collaboration not be forthcoming, we will be left with no option but to escalate our tactics.

Your Sincerely,

LSE Occupation