Angry PR students confront Kemp
Nearly 100 students on the LCC’s BA Public Relations course attempted to occupy the office of the Head of College Sandra Kemp on Tuesday, amid claims of mismanagement and disorganisation over their programme.
The occupation bid followed the resignation of the PR course director Paul Simpson.
Students believe Simpson was left with no choice but to resign because he was not given adequate resources by the management, such as additional specialist associate lecturers.
The PR students were blocked from occupying the HoC’s office by the Dean of the newly-created Faculty of Design, Mike Bradshaw. He told them: “You need to feel some hope in this, in the fact that people are trying to do something.”
“I don’t need hope, I need actions!” yelled PR student Mathew Zorpas. Another student David Gomez said: “The reputation of this course is because of Paul (Simpson). He is our main resource. And now that the main resource is leaving, to be honest, the reputation is gone now.”
The angry students claim the course now has only one full-time tutor, for over 100 students, Sarah Robert-Bowman.
“How do you expect us to get the best out of a tutor that spreads herself so thin she has no time to even eat or go to the toilet?” said Boma Hart, another BA PR student in her third year.
After an hour waiting, the students reconvened in the Main lecture theatre where Bradshaw explained that Sandra Kemp was on her way to address the students about their concerns.
Later, Kemp told the students: “PR is a course that we have integrated into our new faculty structure. This is the first year of the new faculty structure and that course (PR) is one like all the other courses this year that has the benefit of being incorporated into a structure that has already seen gains, in terms of the resources we give to students. Also the fact that your course tutor has resigned is something that could happen in any structure.”
Kit Friend of the UAL Student Union said: “These students have had their learning experience decimated by your mismanagement of this college. And referring to staff resigning as being something that can happen anywhere is frankly naïve. The dissassociation of the treatment of management at this institution with staff feeling as they have to leave is not a coincidence.”
But Kemp stressed that the university and the College Management had changed the structure of the course to provide greater specialist provision.
“Those of you just a minute ago said less than 50 per cent of your course was PR. What we as a Management Team have decided is that in the future, all the courses will have fully specialist provision,” she stated.
The students also claim the lack of specialist teaching is a reason why the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), the largest public relations institute in Europe, has not given the BA course accredidation.
The SU, and the Oppose LCC Redundancies group leader Joana Pinto later agreed a 10-point set of demands to be resolved by senior management by November 16.
They include the immediate reinstatement of staff made or due to be made redundant, plus a demand that “any significant course changes, or changes in the college structure, mission and staffing must only be enforced after adequate consultation and approval from elected student representatives”.