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Students are given facts, and vote with their feet

November 23, 2009

Or, to be more accurate, they’re voting with their mouse-clicks…

Our Facebook groupThe Facebook group Defend Jobs at Leeds, Defend Education was established in January, in response to an insulting letter sent by the VC to all staff. In April, it was used to broadcast to concerned students news of the job cuts announced at that time in the Faculty of Biological Sciences and the School of Healthcare. By mid-May it had around 150 members. Over the summer, a few more students joined each week as we maintained a certain level of protest over developments. In early October, when the economies exercise was announced, the group began to become a little more active as more students joined. By 11 November, 275 members had joined. It had been a slow and steady increase. Then something happened that day. The Deputy Vice-Chacellor and the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Learning held a meeting for students in the Students’ Union to explain to them that the exercise, involving what the VC was then calling ‘significant’ numbers of job losses, would not impact upon the quality of their experience. Overnight, 70 more students joined the Facebook page, and a hundred more in the next week. Then, on Friday 20 November, Leeds Student published their front-page article on the job cuts. It was a balanced article, presenting both the University’s and all three unions’ views. In the three days after that publication, 300 more students had joined the Facebook page, and were opening groups of their own to protest the cuts. This morning, our Facebook group has 820 members, of which around 750 are current students.

Facebook group membership stats

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