Key Events So Far
Students and staff campaigning against cuts at the university have apparently invaded the field which had been cordoned off for a “chair lift” world record attempt.
The event was planned to mark the uni’s 90th anniversary.
#studentsagainstPAS protest has invaded the field marked off for the #UoR90th world record attempt https://t.co/rPmifH85xo
— Mary Naylor (@MaryLNaylor) Thu Mar 17 12:56:05 +0000 2016
Celebrations organised by university bosses also include a performance from the uni band – competing with chants of “save our staff” from the campaigners.
Vote of no confidence
Protesters are now calling for a vote of no confidence in the University management.
#studentsagainstPAS staff are calling for a vote of no confidence https://t.co/ex8z7eXV7E
— Mary Naylor (@MaryLNaylor) Thu Mar 17 12:55:14 +0000 2016
Art students graded on performance aspect of protest
Ha! This is an interesting take on the protest!
Students who made their way over from the art department are being graded on the performance aspect of the protest for their degrees
— Mary Naylor (@MaryLNaylor) Thu Mar 17 12:13:45 +0000 2016
“The reorganisations are going to destroy our university”
Mary Naylor had a chat with English Literature professor Karin Lesnik-Oberstein who said the reorganisation would “destroy” the university.
Having worked at the uni for 21 years she has a strong understanding of what staff and students need and said she was joining in with the campaign to honour the students who were committed to getting a good education.
A surge of protesters has just arrived – take a look at them in this video below
Compromise or apology?
Remember Sir David Bell’s open letter promising compromise which I mentioned earlier?
Well here’s what one student thinks:
Second yr art & eng lit student Liz Pascoe says David Bell’s compromise was more of an apology #studentsagainstPAS
— Mary Naylor (@MaryLNaylor) Thu Mar 17 12:04:10 +0000 2016
RUSU education officer Niall Hamilton speaks out
Mary Naylor has had a chat with RUSU education officer Niall Hamilton about why the students are campaigning today.
He told getreading: “Today we are protesting the savage cuts that are facing our administrative staff and our support services under the PAS review.
“There will be less staff supporting our students it will also mean they are centralising all administrative services sp students aren’t going to get the same specialist that they get in their schools homogenised into these large hubs.”
Timeline of PAS so far
Sir David Bell promises compromise
Students are protesting today despite an open letter to them from vice chancellor Sir David Bell which promises compromise on plans to overhaul administrative services.
On Monday he pledged to place additional interim student support centres in individual schools over the next 12 to 24 months to smooth the transition.
He also admitted the university should have done more to engage about the cost-cutting changes and said its communications with students may have been ‘patronising.’
However, students are protesting against PAS on campus during the university’s 90th anniversary celebration today and a Reading University College Union (UCU) member, who wishes to remain anonymous, has criticised the compromise.
Where did the money go?
Students at the University of Reading have been displaying posters on the building’s toilets in an act of protest against plans to “streamline” services.
The poster aimed towards the uni’s vice chancellor Sir David Bell asks:
“Where did the money go David?
“Down the pwc”
The poster makes a quip about the university’s two-year consultation on Professional and Administrative Services (PAS) conducted by conducted by PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC).
The process is believed to have cost nearly £20 million.
Security at the “Bridge of Friendship”
security at the gate allowed the #studentsagainstPAS to pass over the bridge of friendship https://t.co/4oRwdtP3rU
— Mary Naylor (@MaryLNaylor) Thu Mar 17 11:38:27 +0000 2016
Mary Naylor is at the protest
Our reporter Mary Naylor is among the students protesting against cuts at the University of Reading today.
Starting the march to the central campus to disrupt the birthday celebrations #studentsagainstPAS https://t.co/y55GaWtsxA
— Mary Naylor (@MaryLNaylor) Thu Mar 17 11:34:15 +0000 2016
She has spoken to education officer Niall Hamilton who says he worries the university isn’t ready to take on the task of centralising.
He told her the scheme was “not only a bad idea but badly planned”.
Protesters urged to remain safe
The University of Reading’s security services manager has addressed the protesters asking them to remember that safety is paramount.
He recognised the students’ right to carry out a lawful, peaceful protest but reminded them that it was important to make sure the University’s normal teaching schedule wasn’t disrupted.
Take a look at the video below.
Security services manager addresses the protesters #studentsagainstPAS https://t.co/WXjRnLltgw
— Mary Naylor (@MaryLNaylor) Thu Mar 17 11:40:53 +0000 2016
Disruption to 90th anniversary celebrations
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the University of Reading student protest against cost-cutting measures they believe will result in job losses.
Students met at the university art department this morning to start making banners and signs and plan to disrupt 90th anniversary celebrations with their march this afternoon.
Talking about the planned demonstration second year student and protest organiser Liz Pascoe told getreading: “The university claims this is about financial efficiency, however, they have the funds to open up the University of Reading Malaysia Campus, as well as giving senior administrative staff a pay rise.
“In real terms what this means is that there will be widespread redundancies to admin staff, with support staff in the university also being affected. This will mean that department specialists will lose their jobs, and with it the students will lose the specific subject support and guidance these people provide.”
Throughout the day staff and students at the university are supposed to be taking part in a series of events including a record attempt at a ‘simultaneous chair lift’.
A university spokesman said: “It is pretty disappointing if there is disruption of our 90th anniversary events.
“Freedom expression is part and parcel of university life – but the 90th is not a ‘political’ event. This is a celebration of our tens of thousands of students, staff and community – past, present and future.
“It’s great RUSU is playing a full part in the official ceremony in the evening – it shows yet again how closely we work with it.