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University of the Arts London

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Petitioning Nigel Carrington, University of the Arts London


We are calling for an end to the systemic racism and discrimination at UAL. Black and minority ethnic students are around 21.5% less likely to achieve a 1st or a  2:1 in comparison to their white counterparts. While 47% of students come from "BAME" Backgrounds, 81% of the staff are white. Black students have reported being discriminated against and underepresented, many have been marked down for undertaking projects based on their cultural heritage. The institution has continuously ignored reports of racism and bullying from black staff and students. UAL has subjected its black and brown cleaners to unfair pay and precarious working environments, some of these low paid black staff have been forced to quit. UAL is the "second best Design School in the world," and handles million pound budgets, there is no excuse for the undermining and underpaying black staff. We are demanding UAL listen to its BAME students and staff and take necessary steps to meet this set of demands in order to close the racial gap and indeed prove that UAL is a  “proudly anti-racist” institution.   Decolonise the curriculum by further incorporating black scholars and practitioners into study material and ask that all teaching staff are actively involved in the research of existing and emerging black academics, creatives and practitioners. Increase online and library resources regarding black history, cultural studies and modern day black figures across UAL campuses, as the resources are so few, the demands for them are so high. Increasing the supply will enable more in-depth and higher level black culture focused academic work. Further decolonise the curriculum by including mandatory black guest lecturers from different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds from different industries sectors. UAL should incorporate into each course specific lectures on the influence of black culture and black people on specific course subject areas, whilst teaching the importance of respecting other cultures by not appropriating. Increase the number of black staff to 30% and ensure they are qualified and not just hired because they are black (in order to meet the statistical requirement.) Review recruitment, and ensure there is an equal amount of black (not BAME) students on each course. Invest in more research as to why black students are not applying or not getting accepted into UAL and provide a more active outreach to black backgrounds and at secondary school and college levels when looking to recruit students. In the Diversity Report, disclose the statistical information of the specific numbers of black students and staff. Do not continue to publish statistics of BAME races grouped together as it encourages erasure of identity. Disclose statistical information on the BAME pay gap and take necessary steps to close this gap, with a full timeline of how you plan to do so  and transparency at all stages. Implement mandatory face-to-face anti-racism, racial diversity and cultural & racial sensitivity training for staff at the beginning of each academic year and for students upon enrolment to the university and at different times during the academic year. Fast track the process for complaints regarding racism, race discrimination and cultural insensitivity. Create new and open up existing case files to monitor offences and further prevent recurrence by enacting disciplinary measures. At the point of repeated complaints about specific individuals implementing mandatory training. Put in a no tolerance action plan that is made available to students so that they are aware of the procedure of disciplinary action. Provide details to all students on how to make a complaint and provide follow up support. Employ five new councillors of colour trained in mental health and ensure that all councillors have anti-racism training. Bring all UAL cleaners in-house (most of our cleaners are from BAME and migrant backgrounds, they are poorly paid and subjected to precarious working conditions). Provide the African Caribbean Society with a block grant at the beginning of the academic year so that they will be able to run events without relying on membership funds only. More support and promotion is needed from UAL and Arts Students’ Union for African Caribbean Society committee members and black students who organise events for black students. Show solidarity with black students and staff by making a public donation to the to Black Lives Matter funds and funds that allow black people from disadvantaged backgrounds to have access to the arts.  Use the enrolment week and Freshers Fair to push the visibility of communities put in place for black students like the African Caribbean Society, ConnectTo, Shades of Noir, Arts Students’ Union. Black History Month events and the black experience of students in UAL cannot be fully left on the shoulders of black societies and representatives, UAL needs to outsource and produce their own events that are actually in line with student desires. Remind us of your solidarity by following up on the progress of what you're actively doing to provide a better environment for black students by sending monthly updates via email to the student body. Black History Month events and the black experience of students in UAL cannot be fully left on the shoulders of black societies and representatives, UAL needs to outsource and produce their own events that are actually in line with student desires.

Anita Waithira Israel & Armani Sutherland
10,907 supporters
Petitioning UAL's Board of Governors, Department of Education, university, University of the Arts London

An open letter to UAL

Dear University of the Arts London, We are writing to you, as students and graduates affected by COVID, as alumni, and as professional creatives. This is an open letter signed by those who object to the undergraduate tuition fee of £9250 that Home/ EU Students are paying, and the fee increase for International Students, paying up to £22,950 a year. For ease we will separate out these two issues below. Whilst we understand the position the University finds itself due to The Government's current stance on financial support, we hope to express our concerns collectively through this statement. We invite UAL to create an open, accessible and transparent dialogue around how student fees are distributed, and actively work with us in lobbying the government to reconsider refunds and bailouts within Higher Education, as one of the few sectors that has been left without thus far.   Tuition Fees for Students and Graduates 2019/20, where the remainder of the year was 100% online: The fees for undergraduate Home and EU students remained the same throughout the final term for 19/20 (Spring/Summer 2020) at a time where students had no access to any physical studio spaces or workshops during the global pandemic.  It is appreciated that the university had to respond quickly to ever changing circumstances and government guidance with regards to the current global situation. Students are sympathetic to the adjustments made by all staff, and that the state of the pandemic resulted in expectations for the year being unattainable due to the law and safety needs of students and staff.    We have seen no mitigation or flexibility in the fees being charged for services that we have not received this academic year. Upon applying to study at UAL we agreed to pay £9250 and £19,930 respectively for Home/EU and International student fees for the academic year 2019/20 with the expectation we would have:  ·      Access to studio spaces six days a week with workshop and technician support for five of the six days.  ·      In person crits/tutorials, lectures and seminars ·      Physical degree shows at the end of the course to assist with networking and building industry relationships after graduation.  Out of these points, only lectures, seminars and tutorials can be adapted to online learning. This has been demonstrated through the academic year 20/21 introduction of blended learning. This raises two issues:  1.     2020 Graduates and students would have had NO access to studios, crits, technical resources, workshops and specialist staff, and NO physical degree show or graduation 2.     With blended learning introduced, this time is rationed, and often limited to 2 days a week. With all this considered, it is ludicrous that the University continues to charge extortionate amounts, and additionally increase fees for international students. This has left students in further debt for their futures in what is already a difficult economic climate and has made many students feel exploited.  Tuition Fee Increase and International Students: UAL is renowned worldwide as a leading education provider for the creative industries, many students are concerned that they have been accepted into this institution not for their contribution to the arts but for their contribution to the university's accounts. Students are concerned that their fee isn’t equitable to the education that they were promised when they applied.  In any other business and trade agreement, as paying consumers, this would be viewed as a breach of contract, and compensation or a refund would be issued. Why is education seen as any different? The decision by the government to introduce tuition fees, and then rapidly increase them over the past 10 years, has turned higher education into a commodity rather than a right for young people. Although the University isn’t directly responsible for the introduction of fees, the institution shouldn’t be surprised that students more and more are feeling like customers paying for an experience of education as the decision to pursue academic prowess comes with such a great financial burden.   International Students faced another fee increase in the Autumn term 2020, with the new blended learning initiative being introduced. While blended learning is the most accessible option given the laws and restrictions during this pandemic, it is difficult to understand why the decision was made to increase the fees. We understand that online, in the fee breakdown, there is a note warning of this increase, and that this decision was approved in the Board of Governors in 19/20. However, the Student’s Union and the below students who have signed view the choice to continue with this decision in light of the pandemic and restrictions on learning as unconsidered, unethical, and exploitative. Going Forward: We must also pay close attention to the welfare of our students, as we have a duty of care to them. Students in London are paying extortionate prices for often only a bedroom in a shared flat. Students are being asked to complete degrees, live and sleep in these rooms. With the success of Manchester University's rent strike, we are asking UAL to match the reduction of accommodation costs to students by 30%. We call upon UAL to lead by example, as the second-best arts institution in the world and grant the following: • Reduction of Accomodation Costs for 20/21  • Flexible and Easy tenancy agreements, that allows for the contract to be broken without penalty. • Hardship fund to allow high risk and disabled students to get private transportation to and from sites.  • Fee reduction for International Students 20/21 to the pre-pandemic cost. • Commitment to freeze International Student fees for the next 5 years • Commitment to funding and hosting degree shows for graduates for all years affected by the pandemic when it is safe to do so  • Join Arts SU and NUS in openly lobbying the government for a bailout in the Higher Education sector.

Arts SU
4,790 supporters
Petitioning University of the Arts London, Central Saint Martins, London College of Fashion, London college of communication, Chelsea College of Arts, Camberwell College of Arts, Wimbledon College of Arts, Jer...

Do not FORCE UAL Final Year Students to Complete Design Degree in QUARANTINE

UAL administration have decided to move forward with online teaching for the following term. This is unacceptable, and realistically not possible since the following term is focused on the material production of final collections and projects. Active engagement with studios and workshop is the only way art and design students can progress to complete their degree.  Specifically for CSM fashion students, they have been told that their deadline remains the same and is still for May 2020. They must create a 2 look collection and have it presented through a 90 second video, with no opportunity for a degree show. This is unacceptable during the reality of the current COVID-19 outbreak circumstances. UAL students will not allow the university to force students to continue to work while in quarantine without the specialized resources they have paid the University to use. Students do not agree that they should work 'online' to complete their course with a virtual degree show. This is not what students agreed to when signing their contract and paying for tuition.  This time should be about focusing on the health and safety of ourselves, families, and community without the anxiety of an inconsiderately enforced deadline. When the time is right and safe, we demand: -To be welcomed back to complete our final term with the specialized workshops and resources as originally agreed on  -To have access to a fair degree show and appropriate exposure leading to further opportunities -To have the appropriate measures in place regarding Tier 4 student visas  -To have access to a postponed graduation ceremony  -To give students that may wish to complete their course digitally the choice of doing so by June 2020 This applies to all courses across UAL colleges, namely: Central Saint Martins London College of Fashion London College of Communication Chelsea College of Arts Camberwell College of Arts Wimbledon College of Arts  By signing this petition you can help decide our future. Thank you.   

Danielle Ebenholtz
1,685 supporters
Petitioning University of the Arts London

End Outsourcing at UAL

As workers and students at UAL, we support the cleaners who are calling to be brought back in house. We do not think it is acceptable that the workers who look after the areas in which we work and study are employed by a separate company on poorer terms and conditions. It is not right that these cleaners receive 10 days less holiday per year, little or no sick pay, and poorer pensions than those directly employed by UAL. The majority of these cleaners are migrant and BAME workers and the inequality that they are subject to severely undermines the Universities’ stated commitment to social justice. Since being outsourced these cleaners have been moved from unaccountable company to unaccountable company (OCS, Mitie, Office & General, Bouygues). Each time they have seen their working conditions deteriorate without intervention from UAL. Most recently Bouygues have increased their workload, and brought about changes to working patterns and locations without consultation. These changes have caused a great deal of stress to the cleaners and have negatively impacted the quality of cleaning across the university. In addition to this, the cleaners right to take continuous leave has been restricted by Bouygues: this disproportionately affects migrant workers, of whom many are now unable to visit family abroad as a result of these changes. In some cases the conditions have deteriorated so much that as much as 13 cleaners at one site (CSM) have resigned. Bouygues have refused to replace these employees and have instead demanded the existing cleaners increase their workloads. This is typical of outsourcing practices: drive down the conditions of workers and with it the quality of the service. Even the cost-saving argument for outsourcing does not stack up; in 2015 an APSE [Association for Public Service Excellence] report commissioned by SOAS  - who have since brought their cleaners back in house - showed that in-housing the cleaners would in fact be cost neutral. We believe that UAL can and should end the two-tier outsourcing model by following the recent example of SOAS, Goldsmiths, and King’s College London and committing to bring these workers back in house immediately. These mostly migrant and BAME workers within UAL are currently on poorer terms and conditions than direct employees: this inequality has to end. The very first statement of values in the 2015-2022 UAL Strategy documents claims that: “We uphold the values of social justice and environmental stewardship through our teaching and research, as well as in the way we live, work and conduct our operations”. It is time to put these principles into practice. End outsourcing at UAL.

UAL Endoutsourcing
1,719 supporters
Petitioning University of the Arts London

Safe work space and appropriate support for students of Technical Arts and Special Effects

This is an open letter regarding the Technical Arts and Special Effects restructure initiated by Wimbledon College of Art as part of University of the Arts London.   Year 3 students of the Technical Arts and Special Effects programme are issuing this statement to express our very real concerns about the current provision, poor communication and clarification within the course.   We strongly believe that the recent changes under the new Production Arts for Screen pathway based at Wimbledon have had a detrimental impact on the TASE programme. Communication has been poor and lack of clarity has left us feeling inadequately listened to and without support.  It is our impression that the changes made to the programme have been driven by economic and other pressures, and that these are detrimental to the quality of programme delivery. It's important to note that the only support that we have got has been from our Technical Arts and Special effects pathway leader and technician. Unfortunately, the problems that we have are beyond their control.  We ask for a response, in writing to each of the following points: ·       Tutor hours: In the first month of term the figurative tutor taught a group of 36 for one hour. The tutor left and was not immediately replaced, for which there was no explanation. We understand that our new tutor is only due to teach us for 3 more days. While we accept that there may be challenges for the University in filling this role, it is reasonable for us, as students, to expect a far greater level of commitment and support from the educational establishment in this matter.  A reasonable quantity of tutorial support is a fundamental element of this programme. ·       Working environment: Contrary to the emails we received which stated that we would be working in the 3rd year studio, we have been situated in what used to be the TASE 1st year room. The working environment is inadequate in terms of space and unsafe. There is no extraction (the extraction fans have been stuffed with bin bags and unplugged). Students have respiratory issues and eye irritation. No working heating (the portable heaters provided are insufficient). Space assigned is insufficient and different to that provided to students previously and the space that we were led to expect that we would be provided when we applied for this programme. We are working in an environment which does not give everyone an equal amount of space or safety. ·       Validation documents: We would like to see the validation documents for our programme and assurance (in writing) that the provision meets the validation requirements and adheres to Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) standards. ·       Course title: We expect to qualify with the award title of the course that we applied for; we would like confirmation that this is the case as it seems difficult to obtain clarification. ·       Personal data: A request for a copy of an original application form has been denied. We believe that we are entitled access to our own data under the Data Protection Act. ·       Clarification to any queries in writing: We have received promises, verbally and via email, regarding studio space that have subsequently been reneged. This is a cause of stress and anxiety that has led to a breakdown in trust between students and academic staff. We feel that we cannot have a reasonable discussion to resolve issues, as responses have been defensive and confrontational.   We are in the final year of a prestigious programme. Our physical and mental health has been impacted greatly due to the unnecessary stress. Given the challenges being presented to us outside of our control, there are many of us who worry about our chances of completing the programme. This is not helped by issues with the support available to us at WCA. The reasons for this are that: ·       Most counselling services are situated in High Holborn, 11 miles from our WCA. This is not practical for persons suffering with mental and/or physical illnesses and also has financial implications for students already struggling. ·       The disability support provision located on the Wimbledon campus has left many students feeling worse than they did before they asked for help. They have experienced a lack of compassion from disability support team.   We feel that the quality of our degree programme has significantly deteriorated. Commitments made to us over the past two years, including when we visited open days and enrolled on the course, are not being met. We assert that this contravenes the Consumer Credit Act of 2015 as it applies to Higher Education. In addition, we assert that the conditions that we are working in contravene Health & Safety regulations and are not fit for purpose. As committed and conscientious students who are passionate about this programme, our learning and personal development, we know that we deserve greater care and consideration. It is not unreasonable to expect better in terms of both provision and communication from UAL. This has forced us to consider legal action. This is not something that any of us wish to do. Having spent two years and accrued not unsubstantial debt we would rather concentrate on working towards graduating with the best degree classification that we can, in the degree that we applied for.    

Chloe Wells
1,085 supporters
Petitioning UAL , University of the Arts London, Central Saint Martins, CSM

UAL Implement Better Covid-19 Protections for Students

Sign to add your name to our open letter to UAL!   UAL has an opportunity to do right by its student, recognise the global outcry against digital art degrees, and ensure that its students are fully supported in this time of crisis. The immense trauma and stress of living through a global pandemic and a developing economic recession, and the uncertainty of our future is debilitating. Decisions about the restructuring of our courses, and the university wide move to digital learning have been made without consultation or consent from students. Our voice and our agency over our education has been robbed from us. To assume that one solution will work for every student is to ignore the immense variety of circumstances students currently find themselves in. It ignores the underlying class issues which this pandemic has only made more pressing. Online learning is rife with class inequality and access issues. Student’s ability to access equipment, fast and reliable internet, and the necessary software is a privilege only available to some. We cannot be expected to continue without the university providing equal access to these resources.   We ask the University to consider the following policies: 1. UAL begin negotiating with students in active meetings, to better understand  student’s situations, and to create an alternative approach which satisfies our needs. Student Union officers must consulted on all current and future actions. The student body and all elected officials must be consulted on all decisions made. 2. Graduating students  receive a physical degree show which takes place in the allocated spaces (White and Black Labs, the Mezzanine, and the Platform Theatre), as well as a full term of access to technical workshops, studios, materials, and staff in order to prepare. We would also like to see detailed plans for how the university plans to ensure international students’ access to these resources if UK lockdown is not lifted before their visas end, or they are unable to return to the UK. 3. No student should be required to engage with online learning if they do not wish to do so, and the university must work with students to create adequate alternatives including suspension of studies. The university must do everything in its power to support students in these alternatives, including support for funding, housing, or visas where it is relevant. 4. Implement a UAL wide no detriment policy in response to the global pandemic. Additionally all students should receive university wide extensions reflecting the loss of working time students have suffered while waiting to receive details about their courses and projects. 5. Students who are unable to access a full term of technical workshops, studios, and materials and/or a physical degree show should receive a partial tuition compensation which reflects the loss of these resources (including first and second year students). 6. UAL  must expand its mental health offerings in order to reflect the trauma of this crisis. More funds and increased staff need to be dedicated to supporting students effected by this crisis. Guided meditations and virtual yoga classes, although a valuable addition, are not in any way adequate substitutes to professional mental health support. 7. International students should be guaranteed the same access to options as any home or EU students. This means the university must allocate every possible measure of support in providing students with visa sponsorship, application fees, and security of accommodation and living costs. 8. Immediately stop charging students currently residing in UAL student accommodation rent, and must offer refunds to students who have been forced to move out due to the pandemic. It is immoral to ignore the financial crisis which students are facing. 9. UAL should provide full pay for outsourced workers and agency staff. It is UAL’s responsibility to offer them the same security and support it would offer to any other member of UAL staff.

694 supporters
Stop legal proceedings against your students and their elected representatives

The High Court has today (14 April 2015) instructed OccupyUAL to end their sit-in at University of the Arts London. The Court granted an injunction which prohibits further unlawful trespass of any of our sites. Nigel Carrington, Vice-Chancellor at University of the Arts London, said: “It is a great shame that the protest had to be resolved in this manner, but we had tried for nearly four weeks without success to negotiate with OccupyUAL. “Legal action was our last resort to protect the interests of the overwhelming majority of our students and staff and prevent further disruption as we head into the all-important summer term. “The University remains committed to freedom of speech, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly within the law.” For more information about the sit-in, read our FAQs:

7 years ago
Stop the cuts to Foundation courses!

UAL remains passionately committed to providing Foundation in Art and Design for art and design students. We will continue to teach it in two further education centres at Central Saint Martins and Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon. The qualification will no longer be delivered at London College of Communication, where it is generally not a prerequisite of entry to undergraduate courses. For those who are interested in studying a foundation course, this will continue to be offered at other UAL sites. In this way, we will continue to provide Foundation where it is genuinely useful while saving other students from the need to have another year in education, with its associated costs. Philip Broadhead, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic, University of the Arts London

7 years ago