#OccupyUAL! No To Foundation Cuts

On Thursday 19th March an emergency meeting was held at London College of Communication to discuss the news that UAL management allegedly propose to cut over 800 places on Foundation courses which will leave staff are at risk of redundancy from September 2015. These plans are being pushed through with no consultation and no mandate. It was therefore decided that, due to the urgency, action need to be taken straight away… So students proceeded to occupy a large area of Central Saint Martins (CSM) in protest against these cuts! 


Kai, UAL ACS President 14/15 leading workshop on institutional racism

On on the second day of the occupation at CSM, Kings Cross, I represented UAL African Caribbean Society by leading a workshop on institutional racism and ways we can fight it within UAL. It was an opportunity to speak about my own experiences as a black female student who until very recently, had little or no representation within the teaching staff of my course who would fall under the “pale, male and stale” campaign.


UAL ACS (African Caribbean Society in solidarity with #OccupyUAL

Research shows that *Black students are 23% less likely to achieve a 1st or 2:1 degree than their White counterparts,despite entering the institution with the same FE qualifications. On Foundation, Black students are more likely to achieve a high grade. Shelly Asquith, SUARTS President, shared some important points for a comeback on “The 10 steps to tackle attainment” that were circulated earlier by a UK University. The first being, UAL needs to accept it is institutionally racist. “Once you can accept that, you can start to unpack it, but while the university is in denial, change will not come.” Other points include anonymous markingliberating the curriculum and Widening Participation targets to recruit Black academics in supervisory roles.

Foundation courses in Art and Design are a pre-degree, multi-disciplinary course designed to prepare students for Higher Education. They allow students to explore artistic practises, experiment, and make mistakes before embarking on a chosen pathway. Many renowned artists and designers have passed through UAL through a Foundation course. #OccupyUALAs a student ambassador I had the opportunity to help out during the Foundation Course enrolment at London College of Communication earlier this academic year. I remember how excited, nervous and anxious most of the student were to start a new chapter of their student life. Most of all there was a strong sense of ambition enrolling on a Foundation course gave them. Many Foundation students come from working class backgrounds, and these courses offer art education to many that would otherwise not access it. Cutting Foundation courses would hinder access to Higher Education for so many students who’s only way onto a BA course would be via a Foundation course.

10426330_1570733196499733_1142855625289467021_nUAL should be about education, not profit-making. SUARTS sabs and Arts Attack ask UAL management (Nigel Carrington, Natalie Brett, Jeremy Till, Chris Wainwright and Philip Broadhead in particular) to reconsider their proposals, listen to students, and INVEST in Foundation courses, NOT CUT THEM. For more info www.facebook.com/FundingFoundation Facebook/OccupyUAL 

From: Mark Crawley
Sent: 07 April 2015 11:23
To: ‘Occupy Ual’
Cc: SU President; SU Culture and Diversity Officer; SU Education Officer; SU Activities and Volunteering Officer

Dear OccupyUAL,

This is to notify you that we have written to the President of the Students’ Union in relation to her email to us of 3 April 2015 regarding our offer of a review. We note that we have not heard from you on this matter.

In the meantime, I’d like to remind you of your duty to ensure public safety and good conduct during any event or the sit-in itself.


Mark Crawley
UAL Dean of Students

From: Mark Crawley
Sent: 02 April 2015 19:29
To: Occupy UAL
Cc: SU President; SU Culture and Diversity Officer; SU Education Officer; SU Activities and Volunteering Officer
Subject: Our deadline and your safety

Dear OccupyUAL,

We have informed the Students’ Union that, because you have not ended the sit-in by our deadline, our offer to them of a joint review is now withdrawn.

We refer you once again to my email of 31 March 2015 outlining our serious concerns about your safety in the reception area at Kings Cross. We require you for your own safety to remove all chains/locks/ropes from one of the doors into the reception area.

The University is closed for the Easter weekend.



Mark Crawley
UAL Dean of Students

From: Mark Crawley
Sent: 02 April 2015 11:54
To: Occupy Ual
Cc: SU President; SU Culture and Diversity Officer; SU Education Officer; SU Activities and Volunteering Officer

Dear OccupyUAL,

As we informed you yesterday (1 April 2015), we have proposed to the Students’ Union a joint review of the decision to reduce the number of places on FAD courses.

This is because the Students’ Union is the independent representative body for UAL students and the official way in which they are democratically represented across the full range of University business.

We propose this to the Students’ Union, but the offer of the review is contingent upon the occupation ending at 18:00 today, 2 April 2015.



Mark Crawley
UAL Dean of Students

From: Occupy Ual
Date: 2 April 2015 10:45:29 GMT+01:00
To: Mark Crawley

Dear Mark,

We are emailing to confirm that you received our message yesterday evening regarding our demands associated with the review. Here is a summary of the demands and requests for clarifications in case the email did not come through or they were not clear:


  • No action be taken on redundancies until the review is complete – we reiterate that we are strongly opposed to any compulsory redundancies.
  • The UCU should have direct representation on the review process.
  • The SU will have the authority to select relevant students to sit on the panel and participate in the wider review.
  • All staff and students involved with the review should be paid for their time.
  • The majority of the panel will not be university management.
  • The SU will set the time-frame of the review.
  • The review should cover the following, but not exclusively:
  • Possible financial support for Foundation students (including grants)
  • Access to courses for international and home students
  • Student profile (including BME and WP) on Foundation courses
  • Student attainment
  • The specific plans for the review, the review itself, and all past and future correspondence between university management and OccupyUAL be publicly published.

Requests for clarification:

  • You had previously mentioned in our face-to-face meeting that the staff consultation process would be paused if the review is to go ahead – please confirm this.
  • Will university management provide all documentation of processes and decisions that have led to the cutting of foundation courses, in advance of the review?
  • Please confirm that both the SU and UAL management, including Nigel Carrington, will sign off the review.
  • Please clarify whether the EIA that has been carried out was in relation to staff, students or both.

We also wish to make you aware that the occupation is holding a large General Meeting today at 4pm in which we will discuss the possibility of leaving the occupation if university management concede to our demands as listed above. We would very much like to have a response from you regarding the review and our demands on it in advance of the meeting.

Many thanks,


From: Occupy UAL
Date: 1 April 2015 18:36:53
To: Mark Crawley

Dear Mark,

In response to your email we would first like to clarify a few things and point out some issues we have.

You mentioned in our meeting yesterday that the current consultation on redundancies has been “paused”. Can you confirm that this is the case? You also mentioned that you cannot “second-guess the outcome of the consultations” in relation to staff redundancies. With this in mind, we ask for a guarantee that no action be taken on redundancies until the review is complete. We reiterate that we are strongly opposed to any compulsory redundancies.

With regards to the release of the information to do with the review, we would like to clarify that you will provide specifically all the information that has led to the cutting of foundation courses up to this point and this information needs to be public.

In relation to the panel, we require the UCU to have direct representation. You have implied that only sabbatical officers will represent the students but we require that the SU has the authority to select students (officer elects, course reps, etc.) to have the opportunity to sit on the panel and participate in the wider review. We also require that these students be paid for their time. You also have not addressed our demands that the majority of the panel will not be university management.

Can you also respond to our demand that the SU set the time frame of the review? You have implied your agreement to let both the SU and university management sign off on the review – can this please be made clear?

You mentioned that the full scope of the review couldn’t be determined at this stage, however we require in advance that the following be included in the review:

– Possible financial support for Foundation students (including grants)
– Access to courses for international and home students
– Student profile (including BME and WP) on Foundation courses
– Student attainment

You mentioned that the Equality Impact Assessment has been carried out. Was this in relation to students, staff or both? We want an EIA regarding students to be included in the review and published accordingly.

On the subject of making documents public, we need a guarantee that the specific plans for the review and the outcomes of the review will be published. Additionally, we request that you publish all of our previous correspondence, including our emails to you. We are in agreement in terms of the co-chairs.

We appreciate your cooperation on the subject of the room and we would like to book it every day from 10am till 6pm until the 17th of April.

Once the above points have all been clarified and addressed, we feel it will be appropriate to discuss our leaving the occupation.


Occupy UAL

From: Occupy UAL
Sent: 01 April 2015 16:16
To: Mark Crawley

Dear Mark,

We have received your email and are currently forming a response. We will get back to you shortly.

Occupy UAL

From: Mark Crawley
Sent: 31 March 2015 19:02
To: OccupyUAL

Dear Occupy UAL,

At our meetings today, you asked to be given more time to consider the following proposals.

If you bring the sit-in at Kings Cross to an end at your meeting tomorrow morning, the University agrees to review the decision to reduce the number of places on FAD courses. The Students’ Union will be fully involved in the review. It is worth noting that the staff unions are involved in the consultations through our normal HR processes.

We have serious concerns about your safety in the reception area at Kings Cross. We are glad to note that you have removed locks and chains from the fire exits for the event this evening. We are also reassured that you propose to control numbers so that they do not exceed 100.

We are disappointed that you intend to lock the space again after the event, even though I have given an assurance that the University will not enter the space until you have reached your decision tomorrow. We would reiterate that you are still at significant personal risk in the event of a fire or other need for a speedy exit.

I have given an assurance that if the Occupation ends tomorrow no action will be taken against UAL students in respect of a peaceful protest.



Mark Crawley
UAL Dean of Students

Sent: 27 March 2015 12:37
To: OccupyUAL

Dear Occupy

Please find below my note of our meeting.

The aim of this first meeting was to establish contact, understand your concerns in more detail and agree next steps.

I look forward to your response to my suggestion on the next stage of discussions. We might follow a similar format to that agreed by OccupyLSE, where an equal number of delegates from the protest and the university meet for discussion.


UAL meeting with protesters at Kings Cross

UAL representatives yesterday (26 March 2015) met student protesters at Kings Cross in order to hear their demands formally. The protesters were joined by the President of the Students’ Union, who facilitated the meeting.

The university was represented by Philip Broadhead, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic, and Mark Crawley, Dean of Students and Director of Widening Participation and Progression.

Philip invited the protesters to explain their demands and priorities, which he undertook to discuss with the University senior management. He proposed a framework of meetings for the next stage of discussion with protesters, who agreed to consider this following the meeting.

The protesters acknowledged that members of the sit-in at Kings Cross had been treated with respect by UAL. Philip accordingly requested that the sit-in should be abandoned and that the protesters leave the space by midday on 27 March 2015, so that normal university activities could resume without further disturbance.

From: Philip Broadhead
Date: 23 March 2015 18:39:50 GMT
To: Occupy UAL

Dear Occupy,

I am awaiting your response to my message as to the best time for us to meet. I look forward to hearing from you, so that we can organise a suitable time.

Yours faithfully,


From: Philip Broadhead
To: Occupy UAL
Date: 22 March 2015 16:06

Dear Occupy,

Many thanks for your response to my message. I think it would be good for us to meet and talk tomorrow. Is there any chance that we could bring the meeting forward to the late morning, perhaps either 11 a.m. or 12 o’clock?

Yours faithfully,

Philip Broadhead

From: Occupy UAL
To: Philip Broadhead
Date: 21 March 2015 23:28:51 GMT

Dear Philip,

We welcome your willingness to discuss the situation, and we would propose a meeting between various parties on Monday.

A delegation of occupying students and union sabbatical officers would be able to meet you in the afternoon. We suggest that this meeting takes place in a neutral space, such as a meeting room in CSM.


The UAL Occupation

From: Philip Broadhead
To: Occupy UAL
Date: 21 March 2015 at 19:28 GMT

Dear Occupy,

Thank you for your note of 20th March. I am happy to discuss your concerns – including areas in which we clearly share priorities – with a delegation from your protest. In particular, I would encourage you to raise free education with your MPs and Parliamentary candidates in the run-up to the General Election.

We remain passionately committed to providing Foundation in Art and Design for art and design students. UAL will provide nearly a fifth of the UK’s Foundation places over the next few years.

We are, however, convinced that Foundation is not necessary or appropriate for students on non-art and design courses, of which there are many at UAL. Non- art and design students – mainly at London College of Communication – will therefore no longer be required to undertake Foundation courses there. This seems an effective response to a hostile funding environment.

There is no £500K cut to Widening Participation. Our proposed changes to this programme specifically support attainment, for which you have called in your campaign video.

On the issues you have raised concerning diversity, I am delighted to announce that UAL has this month been awarded the largest ever research grant for our Black Artists and Modernism project. We have recently appointed two BAME professors to be our Chairs in Black Art and Design, and they will lead on the development of an inclusive curriculum.
We are on target this year for the recruitment of BAME students to UAL.

Finally, it is a matter of real concern that you have not used you democratic student representation through the Students’ Union to raise your concerns. The President of the Students’ Union is a governor of the University and SU Sabbaticals sit on the major committees of the University. I encourage you to use them.

Yours faithfully,

Philip Broadhead

From: Occupy UAL
To: Executive Board
Date: 20 March 2015

Dear Executive Board,

As of last night we are occupying room A002 in Central Saint Martins. This comes after we were informed of huge cuts that you are making to the Foundation courses at UAL, along with the wider bureaucracy and undemocratic nature of the University of the Arts London.

As a group we have come up with a set of demands:

Occupy UAL: Demands


– No cuts to student places

– No staff redundancies

– UAL should use its weight as a large arts institution to lobby the govt. against the FE cuts


– Stop the £500k Widening Participation cuts

– Liberate the curriculum (we want more black artists, theorists and lecturers)

– Implement anonymous marking – Mark our work, not our names!


– Financial transparency, what is going on with budgets and how are they allocated.
– Student and staff reps to sit on the Executive Board
– Fair pay for all staff, including outsourced staff – close huge the pay gap
– No nepotism


– Take a stand against tuition fees, cuts and student debt
– Abolish materials and printing costs
– No to privatisation
– Affordable accommodation


– No sanctions or punishments for students & staff involved in this peaceful occupation

– Freedom to move in and out of the occupation

In light of this we are organising a day of action at Central St Martins and will be occupying the room until negotiation is reached.

We look forward to your reply.

Many thanks,

Occupy UAL.

In solidarity, Kai and the UAL ACS team


Read Why We’re Occupying Our Art School for more on the Occupy UAL demands

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