ULU musters defence in the face of closure


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The Independent Online

Staff, students and alumni of the University of London have spoken up in an attempt to defend it from the threat of imminent closure.

Earlier this week, a report by a University-commissioned review panel recommended that ULU cease operation from summer 2014. Under the plans, the student union would be stripped of its building, services and resources.

ULU president Michael Chessum has warned that the move would undermine the autonomy of student-run organisations, and says he won’t go down without a fight.

“Any move to abolish ULU on Friday would be totally illegitimate and hugely negative for the students in London. It would also set a dangerous precedent for University managements to move in with no mandate and shut down democratically run unions.

“Universities and colleges need vibrant, democratic organisation and debate as part of their academic culture.

“If the University goes ahead with this on Friday, they will be saying far more about their own mortality as an institution than they are about us. And the battle won’t end there.”

London Assembly Member for Lambeth and Southwark Val Shawcross also opposes the move.

“As a former ULU member and Student Unionist I believe that independent self-managing student unions are an important part of our political democratic culture in the UK.

“Times are hard for students at the moment so it's even more important that they can run their own services and represent the interests of students to the University and to the government.''

The decision on ULU's closure will be made tomorrow.