UoN students have gone ahead with a peaceful protest against the implementation of Project Transform and alleged academic redundancies today, whilst prospective students were shown around campus on a UCAS Offer Day.

From 10am, more than 50 students from the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies (CLAS) lined the paths from Portland to Hallward Library with handmade signs and offered to explain to passersby why they were protesting.

As Impact revealed yesterday, both staff and students have raised concerns about the effect that the roll-out of Project Transform could have on the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies, particularly on the year abroad provisions and support for current and future students.

“Over 20 students gathered outside of Hallward Library with signs which read ‘down with this sort of thing’…”

However, on a secondary level the protest is concerned with the academic redundancies which staff in CLAS could allegedly face. The second year organiser of the protest, who wished to remain anonymous, emphasised to Impact that the two facets of the protest are unrelated but both are deemed important to students and staff alike.

As the protest got underway, over 20 students gathered outside of Hallward Library with signs which read ‘down with this sort of thing’, ‘we are not numbers’ and ‘you forgot to inform about Project Transform’. Signs addressing concerns about academic redundancies read ‘staff not stats’ and ‘kept in the dark about our staff’.

As groups of UCAS offer holders walked from Portland building to Hallward Library, the students held the signs higher, and one student was heard to shout “wear a sticker in solidarity – oppose Project Transform”.

“We’re not happy with what the University is doing or with how they’ve done it”

The stickers, which show an image of Trent Building encircled by the text “Oppose Project Transform and Staff Job Cuts”, were offered to students who showed an interest in finding out more about the protest.

Speaking to Impact whilst he protested outside Hallward Library, second year student Sam Drew said: “We’re not happy with what the University is doing or with how they’ve done it”.

He told Impact that he believes Project Transform will lead to “a generalisation of student support rather than having specific centres for students to go to, such as the German Office and the Year Abroad Office, which are being changed”.

When asked by Impact how protesters would respond to concerns about holding the protest on a UCAS Offer Day, Sam replied: “That was the controversy and the reason why students decided not to protest. Lecturers were split about that as well”.

“We’re trying to tell people how great things are and tell them to support our cause”

He added: “We don’t want to hurt the department any more by turning students away, given that this is an Offer Holders Day. We’re trying to reiterate that we love the Language School as it is and we’ve had a great time so far but we want things to stay as they are”.

“We’re not the only University this has happened to. It happened to [University of] Birmingham as well and it’s very likely that there are other universities that are doing it, so it’s not just ‘Don’t come to Nottingham because there are bad things going on’. We’re trying to tell people how great things are and tell them to support our cause”, he stated.

Impact has contacted the University and the Vice-Chancellor for a comment on Project Transform and proposed academic redundancies and is awaiting a response.

Tamsin Parnell

Image: Impact News

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