In this third week of the Fee Strike, we reached out to the Vice Chancellor's Office with these clear demands towards student-led negotiations. We have requested that the VCO's response be made in writing and public, and we will publicise it to students when we receive it.
Dear Paul and Naren,
We hope you had a good weekend.
As the fee strike enters its third week, with over 304 participants and 844 supporters, we need to urgently address the points that came out of our meeting last week (which we had minuted, and shared with you on the 18th of January with noted Actions) and ask for an official, timely response from the Vice Chancellor’s Office.
In line with student demands, the SU is requesting transparency from VCO on how they are lobbying the government and what they are lobbying for. This information should be published to students. This has been highly requested from the student body, and we believe it would strengthen the sense of solidarity between VCO and students. The students need to see a concerted effort from the VCO to lobby on the students' behalf for fee reimbursements and refunds.
Secondly, the SU is requesting a detailed proposal for a Career Development programme, to be put in place to support current students through opportunities, alumni partnerships such as mentorship schemes; paid apprenticeships, partnerships with galleries/workshops, paid job opportunities, an extended student support network, and any other provisions that can be put in place to better support students and their employability in this difficult time. Establishing a reputable programme of this kind would prove that the RCA is indeed the highest performing art and design institution in the world, with a vision to match.
A student demand which we must speak to - though it is important to highlight that this is by no means an exhaustive reiteration of these demands - is the SU’s seat on CARGO. We ask for a direct response, in writing, detailing the reasons behind the institutional opposition to our presence on CARGO. We have never received an explanation for this exclusion, and having now trialled the nearest substitute - a post-CARGO briefing with members of staff on a weekly basis - we, unfortunately, need to note that these remain ineffective in comparison to access to a primary information source. With this, we also request that the SU be invited to more SMT meetings (certainly more than once per term, which is insufficient) - and for longer than a 30-minute slot at a time.
We additionally wish to point out that the Fee Striking students and supporters have requested a meeting with the VCO and Fee Strike representatives to discuss their demands. We understand that the VCO is unwilling to meet with student Fee Strikers and only with the SU. We want to take this moment to confirm we will not be meeting on behalf of the Fee Strikers and instead would urge you to reconsider your position on meeting with these student representatives directly, with the SU present as facilitators.
We look forward to a timely response from you, made available to us and the wider student body, in writing, by Friday the 29th (end of working day).
With best wishes,
Aleks, Chenyu & Marnie