Tag Archives: uwe

Save UWE PaIRs!

Why is the Politics and International Relations department so important to keep at UWE? Hear from the students themselves!

Petition: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/defend-politics-and-international-relations-at-uwe/

If you’re a UWE student, don’t forget to be at the general meeting on how we can build to save the course. Monday at 6pm in 2Q51 on Frenchay campus.


UWE is engaged in a “portfolio review” which is looking at the potential closure of the undergraduate courses of: Politics; International Relations; History and Politics; Politics and International Relations, along with the postgraduate course in Human Rights. While I’m completely biased by being a student on the politics course in thinking that these are excellent and should be well supported, my opinion is shared in the student satisfaction responses. The courses also have an excellent intake of new students. Campaigning to keep humanities degrees available at universities which cater predominately to working class students is of such vital importance and the more support we can build while this is in its early stages the better!

Please take 2 minutes to sign and share the petition:


UWE students can also get more involved by joining the facebook group:


and attending the general meeting on how we intend to fightback, which is this Monday at 6pm:



Politics and International Relations courses under threat at University of the West of England! Oppose course closures, sign and share the petition!

The Coup will be in Bristol on the 5th of April playing at gig at UWE! [link]

Profits from the gig are going towards the Palestinian scholarship appeal. [link]

£7 NUS, £8 advance and £10 on the door.  Available from here.

Do I need to explain how awesome this is going to be?  Please reblog to spread the word!


Outline: What The Occupation seeks.

Demands for the Government, University and Student Union:

  • That neither students nor staff be persecuted for their political convictions or activity thereby.

We call on the Government, the following:

  • First and foremost: to settle any ongoing disputes with public sector unions by making the concessions that the workers want.
  • To take full responsibility for all disruption that may be caused by public sector industrial action on November 30th.
  • To introduce universal, life-long access to education which shall be free at the point of use.
  • To withdraw and oppose the higher education White Paper.
  • For Liberal Democrat MPs to stand by their election pledges for free education.
  • To oppose the abolition and restructuring of PGCE bursaries.
  • To reintroduce the Education Maintenance Allowance as it was prior to its abolition.

We call on UWE Vice-Chancellor Steven West, to pledge the following:

  • That UWE reverse its lecture workload model changes and settle any ongoing disputes with UCU, or other staff unions, by taking part in the negotiations and making the concessions that the union(s) wants.
  • To publicly condemn the higher education White Paper, call for it to be withdrawn and condemn the increasing marketisation of education.
  • To guarantee no course closures.
  • To reinstate languages courses.
  • To guarantee no job cuts with no adverse changes to academic and non-academic staff terms and conditions.
  • To recognise an atmosphere of fear amongst staff in tandem with “voluntary redundancies” constitutes job cuts.
  • To provide bursaries for all international, home and EU students who need them – not fee waivers.
  • To guarantee no cuts to library, student support, and learning resources which includes disability services.
  • To guarantee no cuts to access schemes or foundation courses.
  • No reprimands for staff who refuse to cross picket lines.
  • No reprimands for students who refuse to cross picket lines or are involved in the occupation. Not only ensures that no aggression, interference or disturbance will take place against the occupation, but also takes measures to facilitate our work when appropriate.
  • Support for the UCU decision against making lecturers responsible for policing foreign student visas.
  • To have representation in the governors’ forum meeting, of at least one person chosen by the occupation.
  • Demand Steven West takes full responsibility for disruption caused by past industrial action in the ongoing dispute between UWE and UCU and holds the government responsible for any disruption caused by the strike on November 30th.
  • Responds to all (individual and collective) requests for information and provide access to all documents related to the management of our university.

We leave an open invitation for Steven West, V-C, to come and meet with the occupation.

We call on the S.U., to pledge the following:

  • Total pro-active support for the November 30th Strike, respective of the mandate through AGM, in media (such as the SU website) and on campuses.
  • To respect the mandate from last, and this, years’ AGM to visually support the strikes and occupation with banners, flags, etc.
  • To maintain a higher degree of independence from non-elected and non-student officials and staff within the university and student union. (See Paddy’s AGM motion, which was blocked from the floor)
  • To become more transparent and open to the student body.
  • To advertise and attend a general assembly in order that students are able to voice their concerns with the S.U.
  • To re-instate Matt Hollinshead as Chair of Meetings and allow his access to SU spaces, after his unfair, and politically motivated suspension.
  • To actively encourage UWESU employees to join trade unions and not to discriminate against trade union members.
  • To respond to these demands within 24 hours.

UWE Solidarity Occupation

Lowkey will be coming to Bristol on 21st September to do a gig at the club Eton and Haze!

This has been organised by UWE Live Music Society to be a part of freshers activities but it’s open to anyone, not just students, so the more the merrier!

Proceeds are going towards the Conflict Zone Bursary which was set up to give a full scholarship for a student in a conflict zone (in this case the proceeds will be directed for a student from Gaza) so that they have the opportunity to study for three years without the added stresses of living in a constant state of siege.  The skills they learn at university can then be taken back to their community and used to benefit and enrich.

I know the majority of my followers aren’t Bristol based but any reblogging of this would be awesome: it’ll help spread the word!  Six degrees of separation and all that …

(Picture is a click through link to the facebook group, or just clicky)

More NUS tirades

As some of you may have guessed from a recent blog post, I’m not a great fan of the NUS.  Well, I sort of got half way into an argument about it with a stranger on facebook and then went to the pub and got a little imbibed with aclohol.  when I got back to check my notifications I discovered they’d posted something which nagged my annoyance bone and got me more heated up.  Which in turn triggered a slightly heated if entire honest response that pretty much encapsulates my distaste for NUS politics.

The person I’m in discussion with is a former member of the National Union of Students National Executive Committee.  Because the NUS is ridiculously convoluted regarding what you can do and how exactly what that means is never really clear to anyone but on a regular if not aily basis these are the people voting things through, and then the National Conference is the losest thing the NUS gets to a conference.

Full conversation is here, which is on this page that may need liking before it can be seen.  I was pretty much ignoring the other comments and went for the NUS NEC, partley because I dind’t care what everyone else was saying and partly because.  Well.  This is the main response of mine, post alcohol, that I wished to she.  As I say I’ve drunk a bit so it’s maybe more a tirade than it otherwise would’ve been.  It does, however, make the criticisms I wish to make and responds to the self-righteousness amongst a lot of the NUS system that makes it exclusive rather than inclusive and elitist, ignoring calls for broader democratic participation.  Instead they trumpet about how great a democracy it already is despite it’s convoluted systems of control.

As a politics student I also have a major, major pet peeve of sanctimonious political science students.  Studying politics we look at both political philosophy and political science.  Philosophy side looks at key writers since Plato, what their ideas were, why they’re good/bad, how they compare to each other and what relevance they have in modern day.  Political science looks at comparing functional systems in a statistical sense – the science aspect looks for quantitive results to analyse instead of prosaic and rational reasoning on subjects.

Ok so my tirade:

And this is fundamentally the issue of political science as a course which by definition ignores or fails to emphasise political philosophy. What about, in broader democratic terms, the very fact that the majority of the parochial group are the working classes who feel forced out of normalised liberal democratic functions because it’s a political system designed for, propagated by and governed by the upper middle and upper classes? The fact that their inherent socialisation leads them away from participation within such functions because from the moment they’re born their parents are being stamped on, they’re being stamped on and democracy has no concern for what their needs are because they don’t have the economic power to fund an election campaign? What about anarchists and those people believe in direct democracy, people who see representative democracy as a fundamental denial and subversion of human socio-political intercourse?

For the first group involvement is futile as it will always ignore their wants and needs. And NUS and universities are no different where higher education very much is, and for a long time will remain, the domain of the economically privileged. As a system it considers the wants, needs, desires and interests of those who are already involved. Why broaden this or work to broaden this when they’re not compelled to by their already privileged electorate? They don’t understand and have never experienced the discrimination inherent within capitalism.
For the second group involvement is fundamentally corrupting of their idealogical basis because to become involved is to legitimise and place, in your own activity thereby generating a sense of personal interest, an undue importance in the self over the broader community?
If the system is institutionally corrupt then to participate in the system is to participate in, legitimise and become embroiled within the same corruption that must be fought against. Therefore the only way to deal with the system is from the outside, rather than becoming a part of, and institutionalised within, it.

However political science ignores the arguments or broader political philosophies and looks only at the comparative aspects of it. So you’ll excuse me (or not, I don’t care) if I have a somewhat derisive attitude of the approach you’re coming to the subject from. Rather than looking at the ethical, desirable and rationally justifiable aspects of it you’re boiling it down to a set of statistics and hoping they’ll bring you enlightenment.
As someone who has already been embedded within and institutionalised by the system you’ll also excuse me if I view your stance as skewed. You’ve already presupposed that the system works to the extent that you’re willing to become a participant within it, you’ve already become a participant to the extent that you’re willing to vaunt yourself into the upper echelons of it and you CLEARLY have already considered yourself better than other people for doing so. You’ve already stamped on the capacity for others to be politically participatory (by being delegate voting capacities, whereby they can’t) and derided those who see fault in the system and refused to partake of it because of that. You’ve already declared illegitimate the stance of those who view the system as illegitimate, you’ve already already been warped by the rhetoric surrounding the idea that the NUS is necessary and functional in it’s current format and you’ve already been sat there deciding the nature of my academic experience, the academic experience for thousands of others and the academic experience of countless thousands to come based on what legitimacy exactly?

So fuck your elitism when you tell me to put up and shut up. How dare you tell me what I can and cannot expect from my academic experience? How dare you tell others what they can and cannot expect from their academic experience? How dare you declare that your views are more valid than mine, how dare you declare that anyones views are more valid than others and how dare you expect me to participate in your flawed mimicry of external flawed “democratic” systems so that I can tell others how their views are less valid than mine?

Fuck student unions, fuck the NUS, fuck the national conference and fuck you.

I guess my anarchical tendencies are becoming increasingly apparent.

And people wonder why I hate NUS politics?

As UK students probably won’t be aware (because the NUS is appalling at making it’s constituents aware of any major developments that will effect them) over the past few days the NUS National Conference has been ongoing.  It’s largely a pat yourselves on the back and then fail to really make any difference sort of affair.  It helps students pretend they actually have a say in what’s going on (by probably not participating in electing somebody you probably don’t know to go and make decisions on your behalf with no basis for you to know what those decisions will end up being nor what you’d want those decisions to be).  This is how NUS decides policy for the next year and also how it’s officers are elected.  Each institution with a students union affiliated to the NUS vote for X number of delegates (I think my university voted for 10 delegates to go to it).  Anybody can stand to be a delegate and the ten people with the most votes get to go and vote on these decisions and elect the NUS President and other offices on your behalf.

There’s no real campaigning that’s done on the matter, just a brief manifesto (usually saying “I will represent all students!” goody, stupid as well as idiotic) some pictures and a vote.  For our ten delegate positions, 12 people stood and I think the most any person got in votes was 50.  My university has 30,000 students so I’ll say that again for emphasis.  The most any person got in votes was around the 50 mark.

Erm.  Democratic deficit at all anybody?

According to the wonderful world of twitter, which can tend to be fairly reliable or fairly unreliable depending on the situation, tomorrow is going to have a motion to censure (or basically mute and deny the right to talk to the conference) Mark Bergfield.

Bergfield ran for NUS President, has been a member of the NUS NEC and is one of the few people who’s in there that’s actually doing anything when it comes to organising the student body into action instead of frantically trying to get them to sit down, be quiet and calmly put their collective head on the chopping blocks.

So not only is this body fundamentally undemocratic and intellectually masturbatory, they also have no shame in trying to shut out the slightest vocal opposition to their apathetic stupidity.

Then they complain when people who don’t want to get involved sit on the sidelines moaning.  Huh!

Conflict Zone Bursary

Things are getting underway to get fund raising for the conflict zone bursary, set up to enable a student from Gaza, Palestine, to finish studies here at the University of the West of England without the stresses of living in a warzone.  The website with more information about the bursary and the links for online donation is www.uwe.ac.uk/supporters.  Below is the text of the UWE flyer, if you have even just a couple of pound you can spare then please help a good cause.

This isn’t about taking sides in a decades old argument.  This is about giving somebody the opportunities that, in our own everyday lives, we’ve come to take for granted.  If you don’t have money to spare you can still help by reblogging, retweeting or through whatever means spreading this information to as many individuals and groups as you can.  Thank you 🙂

The Conflict Zone Bursary Fund is a UWE, Bristol charitable project set up to help people from war torn countries.

This project aims to provide comprehensive scholarships for students who are currently living in conflict zone areas to come and study at UWE. The conflict zone bursary fund was set up as a result of a student led occupation in solidarity with the people of the Gaza strip.

The conflict zone bursary fund has been set up in order to offer the real people behind the politics, who are in intolerable situations and experiencing unimaginable suffering, a way out. This charitable project aims to bring the students and the university together in a joint effort to raise money in order to make this wonderful idea become a reality.

As the Bursary Fund was set up in response to student support for the people of the Gaza strip, the first scholarship will be directed toward a student from that area.

The University of the West of England has agreed to provide a comprehensive scholarship for a student to come and study at UWE starting in September 2011. The total cost for this scholarship is estimated to be £45,000 which includes fees, maintenance, flights, orientation, and other expenses. However, we the donors, have to come up with the first £5,000. Therefore, we urge you to donate generously towards this noble humanitarian cause in order to profoundly transform an individual’s life.

To make a donation, please visit www.uwe.ac.uk/supporters and select donate today. Or contact Emma Sambrook on 0117 328 2806 or emma.sambrook@uwe.ac.uk

Thank you

Also many thanks go to Viva Palestina and their very generous pledge which really helps to get things underway!