Here at the University of Leeds (UK) a new group called ‘The Really Open University’ has been set up. The ROU aims to help resist the planned £35 million of cuts (in a record turnout the lecturers union, UCU, recently voted to strike), but also to inject a more general critique of the neoliberal university and link to wider social struggles. Part of this will include the establishment of a ‘really open university’.
This is from the group’s website:
“Our struggle is not simply a defensive one. We do not wish to preserve the university as it is, an elite and insular institution that reproduces the inequalities found throughout our current society. We don’t care about theories of governance, corporate strategies, we don’t care for teaching or learning how to control our imaginations! The university is bankrupt: we must work to transform education, to open it up, give people the right to study what they want to study, and teach what they want to teach, restore the value of the idea and the quest for understanding. We must create a university which bases itself on entirely different values: we call this the ‘Really Open University’. How do we build this institution? Through the occupation of the spaces where we work, play and consume and the reappropriation of this time and space for our own ends. Imagine working to produce what we need, to learn so as to enrich our lives, to wake up looking forward to Monday. Imagine a world on our own terms”.
The first issue of the ROU newsletter ‘The Sausage Factory’ is available on the website:
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For an overview of education-related protests worldwide in 2009, go here.