Page last updated at 14:16 GMT, Tuesday, 12 May 2009 15:16 UK

Students occupy campus over funds

Student protesters at London Metropolitan University
Students said they would protest for "as long as it takes"

Students have staged a sit-in protest at London's largest university over plans that could see 550 jobs axed.

Dozens of students have occupied London Metropolitan University's (LMU) Commercial Road campus in Whitechapel, east London.

LMU is being forced to repay some £50m after auditors found drop-out rates were higher than stated.

A university spokeswoman said the building remained open and teaching was unaffected by the students' action.

'Alternative proposals'

Last week, lecturers took strike action over the issue.

Union leaders said the trigger to strike action was a "poorly thought through" redundancy scheme announced by managers in the middle of talks.

Amy Jameson, a furniture design student, said the protest began at 1700 BST on Monday and that up to 70 students had taken part.

"We're intending the sit-in to go on for as long as it takes the management to listen to us and start communicating and negotiating with us," she said.

"Up until this point, we've engaged in no direct communication with the management. They're not really willing to consider any kind of alternative proposals that have been put forward to them."

The university spokeswoman said: "A small number of students have occupied the canteen, which is part of the sixth floor of one of our buildings on Commerical Road."

She would make no further comment.

The university has more than 34,000 students on its register and 4,612 members of staff.

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