Socialist Worker

Mood is wider than this demo

Issue No. 1931

ABOUT 1,500 people joined the National Union of Students (NUS) demonstration in Cardiff against university

top-up fees on Thursday of last week.

But the strength of feeling among students over fees and other attacks is far wider than that turnout indicates.

There is growing anger over the closure of courses and whole departments at many universities, with large protests at Exeter and Cambridge in recent weeks.

This week Anglia Polytechnic University said it could cut up to 75 percent of its courses.

Last week, reports Keith Shilson, “Over 300 students at Middlesex University, north London, unanimously voted for a motion to reject the university’s plans for privatisation.

“This is the first time in over ten years that there has been a quorate emergency general meeting of the student union.

“The campaign, led by Socialist Worker Student Society (SWSS) members, had seen more than 500 students sign a petition in just four days.

“It is also supported by student union staff, lecturers and the Unison union.”

The following day students at Edinburgh University voted to affiliate to the National Union of Students for the first time in 25 years.

Around 3,500 students took part in a cross-campus referendum on affiliation. The vote was close, with 52 percent voting in favour.

Student association president Steve Cockburn welcomed the vote, saying, “Students need strong representation now more than ever to protect their rights and welfare, and to convey their positive contribution to society.

“We very much look forward to working with the NUS to achieve that.”

Tom Whittaker, a member of SWSS on the NUS national executive, told Socialist Worker, “The Edinburgh decision and the success of local protests over course closures shows the activism among students. I’d urge everyone to push for NUS to hold a serious national demonstration in London over fees next term, before the general election.”

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Sat 11 Dec 2004, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1931
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