Friday, 26 February 2010


Apologies for the curious silence from us at Defend over the last seven days. This week has been hectic for students and staff alike, who have been stuck in meetings at all hours of the day. Some great successes have been achieved by the campaign, and awareness among students has risen exponentially. We have had more ups and downs than a grasshopper on a trampoline. So without further ado, here is your week in brief:

MONDAY - The campaign continues to receive a significant boost in coverage after an article in the London Student. In the evening, students hold an open meeting to discuss the campaign, share ideas and prepare for Tuesday's consultation meeting with the Dean. Our petition tops 1000 signatures.

TUESDAY - Early in the afternoon, more than 200 students gather in the Chemistry building for the much-anticipated open consultation meeting. After another shocking whitewash from the Dean, brilliant questioning from the floor leaves him flustered and looking very nervous. However, he digs in his heels and flatly refuses to extend the consultation period. Students leave the meeting incredibly angry, cross the road to the UCL Union Annual General Meeting and promptly vote in an anti-cuts motion with the biggest majority in over a decade.

WEDNESDAY - Further embarassment for the Dean: at a meeting of the Academic Board attended by anti-cuts student campaigners Michael Chessum and Craig Griffiths, Provost Malcolm Grant overrules the Dean with "executive action", extending the consultation period for the Modern Languages Review by two weeks. H.R. Woudhuysen gets a sizeable portion of green ham, and egg on his face.

THURSDAY - Students begin to formulate alternative proposals to the Dean's documents, in parallel with the staff plans already being prepared. A meeting is held to allow all students to put forward and debate ideas.

FRIDAY - Banners are prepared for next Wednesday's rally in the quad, students participate in photoshoots and campaign work.

The campaign is set to become big news by next week, and students and staff need all the help and support they can get. Where will you be? How can you get involved? To find out, join the Facebook groups HERE and HERE.

Write-ups of meetings to follow...


  1. Guys, good luck with the campaign... but seriously, rethink the timing of the protest in the quad. On Wednesday, a modern foreign languages open day will take place. Seriously bad timing. Put yourself in the shoes of an applicant. If you were told there was a very real prospect that the course you were applying for would cease to exist or was in doubt, would you put down UCL as your first choice? If the departments don't meet their quota of new intake, then College will really have a reason to downsize/close courses!!

  2. I think that's a good point, but our message isn't "don't come to UCL", it's "UCL is awesome, and it's really important that it stays that way." We'll make sure that comes across. Plus, if, when I applied to UCL, I had seen a lively and festive demo, it would probably have encouraged me to come - it should be a pretty good atmosphere.

  3. Year Abroad Student27 February 2010 at 19:22

    I have to admit, I agree with the Anonymous comment above. Some of the smaller language degree programmes (e.g. Dutch, any of the Scandinavian languages) have very few applicants. People considering studying such subjects are already faced by plenty of people questioning them as to why they'd think of doing such a crazy, off-the-wall thing. Adding an extra reason for them to consider studying something less risky hardly sounds sensible. Moreover, if you scare enough of the few applicants to e.g. Dutch, how will the department recruit enough first years to justify its continued existence?

    I am sure Michael Chessum is right, nobody intents to transmit a message of "don't come to UCL" to applicants. But... how can you really believe that the message going across to them will be nuanced enough for them to realise that, especially if they're met by a crowd of people wearing t-shirts with "UCL is killing my department" on them and with faces painted like zombies?

    Please don't create a situation in which I don't have a department to come back to in September!


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