With a drumming band in tow, banner waving protestors blocked off Salford's busiest road, as part of a mock funeral procession from Maxwell Hall to the University's management `palace' in the old fire station. Here, a coffin, representing the death of education was placed at the door, while speakers addressed the crowd with tales of `two universities' – one, a luxury existence for the management, including chauffeur driven cars, works of art, imported furnishings and expensive `retreats'…and another impoverished existence for students and staff which involves 150 staff cuts and course closures.
The University is looking for £13.5million savings over the next three years alone, and targeted for the chop are jobs at the Information and Learning Services, the School of Community, Health Sciences and Social Care, and Salford Business School.
Meanwhile, the University is committing upwards of £30million in `hi-tech equipment and facilities' to its new rented `tower' at Salford's Media City
The unions response to University bosses stated that they were particularly concerned that the University is choosing to invest in Media City - which "appears to be rapidly degenerating into a white elephant" - and pointed out that no other organisations apart from the BBC and the University have yet committed to the project…Media City, far from `creating employment opportunities for 15,000 people' has already cost 150 jobs before it has even opened…
"Ultimately we believe that the academic and teaching expertise of the staff at Salford is now more vital than ever to help give local Salford people the skills necessary in order to equip themselves for employment during and after this global economic slump" says Gary Duke of Salford University Defend Education (SUDE)
"Simply pumping tens of millions into a 'new build' by the BBC will guarantee nothing but more job losses" he adds "And ultimately less access to the University and less opportunities for Salfordians to develop themselves intellectually and more practically for the job market."
The protests are set to continue. Watch this space…
For more demo photos click on Gallery or this link http://www.salfordstar.com/pictures.asp