School of Music protest at University of East Anglia

Students have been protesting at the University of East Anglia against the proposed closure of its music school.

More than 200 students demonstrated on Wednesday as the university's senate held a meeting to discuss the future of music as a degree subject.

A petition of more than 7,000 signatures has so far been collated from people opposing the move.

If plans to close the school go ahead, it could mean the loss of seven full-time staff jobs.

The UEA's governing board is expected to make a final decision on the viability of the School of Music on 28 November.

The Norwich university announced in October it was reviewing its degree subjects and proposed the music school be shut down.

'Cultural value'

It said it would be difficult to expand student numbers at the school and, if it remained open, it would require the university to divert resources from other departments - possibly putting them at risk.

Protest website Save UEA Music was set up soon after.

Campaigners said their petition so far included signatures from the band Coldplay, who performed at the university last month, and had backing from more than 80 academics from around the world.

At the protest, Bill Vine, a PhD student at the School of Music, said the school had an important "cultural value" and was internationally renowned.

He added that the small department was "punching well above its weight" and its electro-acoustic studios acted as a "benchmark" for other institutions.

Professor Ian Harvey from the university said: "Universities are having money taken away from them at the moment and put in a pot to introduce essentially a market into higher education.

"We have to make a judgement about which parts of the university are best able to survive in that market, and, unfortunately, music doesn't look to be in the strongest position to do so."

If it was to close, the school's current 149 students would be allowed to finish their degrees, with the last to be completed in 2014.

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