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Friday 18th: Willetts comes to Southampton

This Friday, David Willetts, the Government Minister of State for Universities and Science, is coming to Southampton University to take part in a special debate alongside Southampton Test Labour MP, Alan Whitehead – and you can come along to watch (and challenge!) him as he debates the  current changes being made to Higher Education.

The event is being hosted by the Southampton University Debating Society, with the topic for debate being “This House has no faith in Her Majesty’s Government“, and will take place at 6:30pm in Lecture Theatre A of the Nuffield Theatre.

Before the event, a new student group called “Southampton Students for Education” will also be on the red-brick area tomorrow lunch time from 12:30pm onward, collecting signatures for a “No Confidence” petition, who are also working with SUSU in challenging the Government’s proposals.

David Willetts is responsible for implementing the 80% cuts to teaching funding and the raft of changes to Higher Education on the whole – including increasing the cap for tuition fees to £9000, which was decided last December. In June of this year, Willetts released the highly controversial White Paper, which outlined a raft of changes that aimed to put students at the heart of education, to which you can read SUSU’s response here.

Since then, SUSU has continued to fight and oppose the proposals being put forward by the Government, having sent a coach of students to the London march this month, and having written a joint response with the University, being almost the only Union to do so. In the response, the Union and University pinpointed a series of concerns within the paper, starting with the impact the paper would have on widening participation, to the issues of finance that would greatly impact a student’s decision on going to University.

The issue of the changes being made to Higher Education has not died away – it is not over, and it’s vital that as a Union that opposes the measures being taken by the Government, that we continue to be vocal in our complete disapproval, and that we continue to lobby for the re-investment of Higher Education and slashing of tuition fees. We are currently working on a campaign to challenge the Government, and if you wish to be a part of the decision process, please give me an email at vpacademic@soton.ac.uk.

I hope to see as many of you there as possible!

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