Staffs and students protest against Evolving Goldsmiths

Protesters outside Deptford Town Hall. Pic: Jason Tzu-kuan Lu

On Friday, 14 February, Students and staffs from Goldsmiths gathered in front of the Deptford Town Hall, where the warden’s office is located, to voice their opposition out against the austerity.  So many people showed up that the pavement was blocked shortly as there were estimated more than a hundred protesters attended the demonstration.

Outrage started from the renovation on 302, 304 and 306, New Cross Road that 2 shops was forced to make ways for a new “Enterprise Hub”, a place which schools claiming to use as an incubator that will bring more than 150 start-ups and 80 local job opportunities.

On the early February, the school announced Club Pulse Gym, the on-campus gym, will end its 14-year service in order to “explore how the gym space could better serve our students and the university by being used for teaching and learning”.

Although the press office insisted that the move has nothing to do with the Evolving Goldsmith, an initiative that wish to cut the university’s expense, they provided no further detail how the closure of the gym could increase the overall well-being for all.

Filming: Jason Tzu-kuan Lu| A Goldsmith’s graduate talking about the closing of the gym

That leads to resentment in the university as 12% of students – more than 1000 people, are active users of the Club Pulse Gym, and they were not asked before the decision was made. Meanwhile, teaching staff are strongly opposed initiative that includes “a cost reduction target for professional and academic service areas of 15% over the next two academic years” and create a new way to allocate and execute teaching budget, which they believe is detrimental to each schools’ autonomy.

This protest is the second action carried out by students in Goldsmiths. On Feb. 11, a few students interrupted 2 minutes in a meeting where Frances Corner, Goldsmiths’ warden, was attending with banners about gender pay gap, inequality, and their deep concerns about the austerity under the Evolving Goldsmiths plan.

The Evolving Goldsmith plan has become the epicenter of a series of controversial moves from renovation, closing the gym, and the long-standing dispute on the USS Pension Scheme. The demonstration might have just been a warm-up, as a 14-day strike for teaching staffs’ pension and welfare high-likely to take place from February 20th to March 13th.

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