On Friday 19th July, around 20 students and ex-students at Leeds Uni held a protest outside Michael Arthur (Leeds Uni Vice Chancellor and former head of the elite Russell Group) leaving party. The protest highlighted Michael Arthur’s legacy at Leeds Uni which includes hundreds of job cuts, cuts to hours of canteen staff, supported the introduction of £9,000 a tuition fees and infamously had a helicopter ferry him in to work (provoking the chant – Michael Arthur we know you, we paid for your cabin crew).
The protest was organised by Leeds Student Resistance, a new anti-cuts group established on campus on the back of the Justice 4 Sanaz protests which have been taking place on campus over the last few weeks (http://leedssocialiststudents.wordpress.com/) and the protest heard speeches from her as well as current and former students, amongst them Yorkshire Socialist Students organiser, Iain Dalton (see video below). A message of support was also read out from University of London Union, itself currently under threat, the over-arching student body representing students across London including University College London where Michael Arthur will be taking up the Vice-Chancellor’s post.
A protest the previous day showed how Michael Arthur leaving Leeds Uni will see no end to the policies he represented. Campus unions, Unite, Unison and UCU held a lobby of the University Council as that body met with consultants KPMG to discuss a further round of cuts and privatisation on campus. The formation of Leeds Student Resistance is thus timely, to organise students to link up with staff and fight back against the neo-liberal agenda on campus.