By Laura Conaghan
Students from colleges and universities across Scotland came together yesterday to protest against the governance of Glasgow Clyde College and to call for the chair of the college’s board, George Chalmers, to stand down.
The demonstration at Cardonald College came to a head following the students at GCCSA holding a vote of no confidence in the chair after the recent exclusion of two student board members from the decision to suspend the college principal.
The action of Chalmers to remove the student board members was in direct violation of the Education Act.
NUS Scotland President, Gordon Maloney, said:
“It’s become apparent that the chair of Glasgow Clyde has no intention of respecting college representatives, or even the legislation that gives them their rightful place.
He has increasingly undermined respectful and legally sound position that Glasgow Clyde student representatives have maintained.
There’s no option left but for him to go.’’
Raising handwritten signs and armed with protest chants, students from Stirling University, The University of Strathclyde, Fife College, New College Lanarkshire, Edinburgh College and even members of staff at Cardonald College united together to stand against the actions of the college principal.
A sea of signs reading, ‘Glasgow Clyde shame on you, student reps have voices to’, along with ‘GCCSA: We won’t be sent away’ and ‘Students make colleges, we stand up you stand down’, made it clear to all those watching that the student voice would not be silenced.
Gary Paterson, President of the University of Strathclyde Students Association, who was in attendance at the demonstration said:
‘It’s absolutely disgraceful that student reps have been removed from Clyde College’s Board of Management, the Education Act protects student representation and our institutions must follow it.
What is happening at Clyde is an attack on students and our right to shape our intuitions. I experienced this before at Angus College, and the new reforms in college governance were supposed to stop this. That’s why we can’t allow Clyde to set a precedent.
‘‘I was delighted to see so many Strathclyde students and student reps from across the country attend in solidarity with the Clyde student reps.
Since the demo, the college are making threats on the future of their student union; this is unacceptable, it would never be allowed at University and I will be continuing the campaign to ensure it isn’t in our colleges too.’’
NUS Scotland added: “Despite the strength of the feeling against the chair, and against the clear wishes of the student body, students have seen no action from either the college board or regional board, headed by Henry McLeish.’’
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