NATIONAL WALKOUT: NUS urges the government to ‘Come Clean’ on student funding
Henrietta Richards reports on the planned boycott of lectures and seminars this Wednesday.
Students across the country are being urged to abandon their lectures and seminars next Wednesday and protest against ‘damaging’ new educational reforms.
The walkout on Wednesday 14th March is part of a ‘Week of Action’ organised by the National Union for Students. The campaign has been labeled the ‘Come Clean’ campaign in a bid to spark a ‘public debate’ on funding issues.
Several other student organizations have also expressed their support, with the National Campaign Against Cuts and Fees asking students and University staff to "make a stand for publicly funded, accessible education".
The government decided in January to shelve its plans for a controversial ‘Higher Education Bill’ that proposed more ‘private’ universities. However with fees for the coming academic year now set at £9000 and the EMA (Educational Maintenance Allowance) scheme due to be scrapped, many students are still unhappy at the state of higher education.
The NUS explained on their website that although the HE bill has been dropped, many of the ‘most damaging reforms’ do not require legislation and would never have been included in the bill anyway.
The action in Exeter is being organised by the group ‘Socialist Students’ who have advertised the protest with posters around campus. The University Press office however did not seem to be initially aware of the proposed walkout when we first contacted them.
Many Exeter students will remember similar protests taking place in December 2010 when the Newman A lecture Theatre in Peter Chalk was occupied for several days by groups campaigning against the government’s plans to raise fees and cut funding for higher education
Students this year have expressed mixed views about the campaign. Leanne Ong, a first year studying Sports Science and Psychology, said that she felt that as the tuition fee rise was already confirmed, any act of protest would be "redundant". However, she also praised the fact that the protest would bring the issue to the "forefront of people’s minds and hopefully make an impact on the government in future years".
Other students have highlighted the fact that many of us do not have timetabled classes on a Wednesday with one second year English student telling The Drop that a walkout would have "no effect" on his day "whatsoever".
Will you be walking out of your lectures this Wednesday? We want to hear your thoughts on the proposed action. For more information on the campaign see the NUS website – http://www.nus.org.uk/en/campaigns/.