Watch the video here.

On 12 November, a coalition of students held a DEMOcratise UCL protest in anger at the systematic marketisation and lack of democracy at the university. A group of students assembled in the south quad and proceeded to protest outside the Provost, Michael Arthur’s office, equipped with drums, banners and smoke grenades.

UCL is run like a business, with the UCL Council being the strongest decision making body of the university. 11 out of the 18 council members are externally appointed corporate figures who have nothing to do with representing the interests of UCL’s students, academics and staff. Instead, the council is made up of corporate figures who have a vested interest in real estate, the fossil industry and big business. It’s not hard to see why UCL continues to invest in fossil fuel companies, vanity real estate projects such as UCL east and maintains extortionate rent costs in halls. Students and academics are tired of their voices being overshadowed by managements’ thirst for profit. The UCL council should be accountable to students and academics not working directly in opposition to their interests, whilst being paid obscenely high salaries.

In the past 7 months there have been 2 votes of no confidence in the Provost and UCL council by both the student and academic body. It is time the Provost resigns and the University management reflects the voices of the students and academics.

The Provost makes £360k a year in addition to a fancy grace-and-favour flat in Russell square, all the while student welfare flounders, lecturers’ pensions are slashed and rent prices soar. Michael Arthur’s salary is 22 times that of the staff on the lowest pay grade, and the combined salaries of those who earn more than £160k totals more than £20 million.

The demo was co-hosted by a range of student campaigns and groups because we feel that in order to make lasting change we need to be reforming structures not just treating symptoms.

Next term, there will be a general assembly to discuss the exact campaign demands and how we envision our University to be run.

Cross-campaign demands:

  • UCL Provost Michael Arthur resigns by the end of this academic year!
  • A more democratic selection of the new provost, taking account of the interests of students, academics, and non-academic staff!
  • Cap the new Provost’s salary!
  • More power for the Academic Board!

UCL Cut The Rent demand:

  • UCL cuts rent for all student halls so that they don’t make surplus from UCL accommodation!

Fossil Free UCL demand:

  • UCL fully divests from the fossil fuel industry by the end of 2019!

Fund Our Mental Health Services demand:

  • UCL funds mental health services properly by adding an extra £220,000 to the SPS budget!