Newcastle students are protesting the cost of their tuition fees amidst ‘virtual uni’

The ‘9k for what?’ demonstration called for increased financial support for students


A “9k for what?” demonstration, protesting the cost of tuition during the Covid-19 pandemic, took place last Saturday at Newcastle Civic Centre.

The demonstration was intended to bring awareness to the fact that most students are still paying a £9,250 tuition fee, despite what protesters see as a “considerable drop in the quality of the education” received.

Activists made the following demands:

• Increased financial support for all students self-isolating, increased wellbeing support, and rent refunds for students in university-owned accommodation

• Clear communication from universities and the government – most students do not know what support is available to them and they don’t know what their academic or financial future may look like

• Protection for staff against redundancies and an unsafe return to work

The demonstration, which adhered to social distancing measures and was attended by police, managed to attract considerable attention from students and passers-by alike. Also in attendance were members of the Socialist Workers’ Party and the Revolutionary Communist Party.

A perceived lack of communication and failure to display understanding by the Department for Education and Newcastle’s universities has left some students feeling frustrated over the past few weeks.

An online petition on the matter has gained traction on social media, and currently has over 219,000 signatures at the time of writing. The petition is due to be debated in Parliament on the 16th November, and in the meantime the government has defended its position, claiming “universities are autonomous and responsible for setting their own fees”.

All photos courtesy of @harrydoesphotos.

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