Anti-cuts campaigners greeted business secretary Vince Cable as he visited London South Bank University on Thursday morning to announce his proposals for a new graduate tax.
The visit by the government minister responsible for higher education came on the same day as campaigners staged a protest outside a meeting of LSBU's board of governors against plans which could lead to the closure of the university's LLU+ department.
LLU+ – which is based in Pocock House in Southwark Bridge Road – is the largest UK education centre on literacy, numeracy, dyslexia, family learning and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).
Nearly 1,000 people have signed a petition against the closure of the unit.
"During the current global economic crisis the university is committed to sensible financial planning in order to safeguard its future and its students' education – the university's key priority," says Dr Mike Wilkinson, pro vice chancellor of London South Bank University.
"As each university is affected by different pressures and opportunities, at both national and local level, LSBU is in continuing discussions with the recognised staff unions to explore moving towards local pay negotiations.
"Over this period, the university has worked hard with unions to reduce the number of staff redundancies which will be necessary as a result of cuts in government funding. However, like many HE institutions, LSBU will be unable to avoid staff redundancies completely.
"In the case of LLU+, the university is undertaking a comprehensive evaluation of all its business activities including those of this unit. LSBU is consulting with unions and staff, and listening to all options regarding the future of LLU+.
"Throughout the consultation, the university is working to minimise any impact on the student experience, whilst working closely with staff who may be affected to mitigate the professional and personal circumstances surrounding any change."