9K? No Way! Demo? Let’s Go!

We’re almost a third of the way through the academic year: first year students will have now reaped 3K’s worth of education. Or have they?

Were these last two months worth as much as a second or third year’s whole year of study? Or is an entire generation of students paying a disproportionate amount for the same standard of education that their peers enjoyed for a third of the price, merely because those in charge of the UK’s economy screwed up and need the youngest and brightest to pay the price?

Welfare? Well unfair, if you’re asking me.

It’s time to stand up and get a bit riled about the rinsing our generation is getting by the hands of the Con/Dem government.  A huge price tag has been slapped upon our right to education, creating more and more barriers for students from all backgrounds to achieve academic excellence. The University of Southampton itself is down on numbers by more than 600 this year alone. And not only are we now paying triple the fees but our employment prospects are getting no better either.

So what can be done? Should we stay silent and complicit? Or should we shout about it?

On Wednesday November 21st, hundreds of Students’ Unions all over the country will come together in London to march: for education, employment and empowerment. SUSU is mandated by Union Council to promote and facilitate students going to any march or demonstration that opposes 9K tuition fees and cuts to education – so let’s unite with our fellow students and do this thing! … Plus, marches are amazing fun!

Get involved and find out more about the protest here.

Tickets for coach travel to London and back are also available to buy on SUSU’s Box Office for just £5. You can get yours now here.

I didn’t vote for this: did you? Let’s get ourselves up to London, have a stomp, and make it known that SUSU’s not happy!

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20 Comments on "9K? No Way! Demo? Let’s Go!"

  1. Chloe
    12/11/2012 at 7:53 pm Permalink

    Yeah…because the last one worked SO well! Lets hope Students don’t destroy our already low reputation again, and destroy any more buildings, and threaten public figures!

  2. Chloe
    12/11/2012 at 7:59 pm Permalink

    Hey Anon!
    That’s not a super optimistic attutude now is it? The last march sent out an incredible message to politicians: that students were not apathetic, as they thought we were, and we would fight changes to our education. The Browne review did not propose a cap on tuition fees, which was won by that march and other student action, so that’s certainly a victory there. We could be paying anything otherwise!
    The students who ‘destroyed buildings and threatened public figures’ were the absolute minority – a tiny amount out of the tens of thousands who attended. Those students don’t represent us all.
    Come along and see for yourself! You’ve got nothing to lose and it’s an amazing experience.

  3. Chloe
    12/11/2012 at 8:07 pm Permalink

    Out of interest, what are we aiming to achieve with this demo? Is it realistic that politicians are going to do a complete U-turn, and decide to re-lower tuition fees? Or is it more a case, that we’re just shouting out because we aren’t happy?

    I’m all for protesting, but only if it will actually get us somewhere..?

  4. Chloe
    13/11/2012 at 2:12 pm Permalink

    Hello Anon,
    The protest aims to keep education on the agenda; there is a fear that 9K fees and drastic cuts to education could become normalised and students and the rest of the public could become desensitised to what is happening.
    It’s not just about politicians doing a u-turn, it’s also about education more broadly: if we’re paying 9K fees and getting ourselves in up to 50K of debt, can we be guaranteed better luck in the job market as a graduate? Currently not. There are huge swathes of graduates unemployed and it doesn’t look to get any better. This protest seeks to raise awareness of that too, and engage the public in a protest which keeps the vigour of the movement alive.
    It may get us somewhere, it may not. But we can’t speculate until we’ve tried, right?

  5. Chloe
    13/11/2012 at 2:46 pm Permalink

    Hello Anon!

    National protests are a great opportunity for people to come together from all different universities around the country to express their solidarity with each other in the face of extortionate levels of debt.

    Will David Willetts and Vince Cable change their mind about £9000 fees as a result of next weeks demonstration? Probably not, but I live in hope 🙂

    But, a demonstration like this is vital for building a movement that is in favour of publicly funded university education. I see it as an opportunity to do two things: show both politicians and university management that we are unhappy with the changes they’ve made and to debate, discuss the issues and get to know like minded people. What happens after the demonstration is definitely as important as the day itself. The focal point of the demo will make it easier to organise in the future as we’ll be able to do things like debate and deliberate on the coach home what we want to do next.

    If you are interested in changing things – which your question implies – then a lot of hard graft has to be done. The first step is raising awareness of exactly what is going on amongst students. Next Wednesday is a great opportunity to do this. If you can’t make next Wednesday, then don’t worry, plans are afoot for further discussions and actions soon after!


  6. Chloe
    12/11/2012 at 9:19 pm Permalink

    The 2010 demo totally undermined public and political sympathy for students and made it impossible to avoid raising fees. That’s why this year they’ve gone for the vague “Educate, empower, employ” slogan and a fairly scenic route avoiding going near anyone a demo might bother, both contrary to the NUS delegates’ consensus.

    It’s as futile as Father Ted standing there with a “Down with this sort of thing” placard. But I guess it’s a nice day out.

  7. Chloe
    15/11/2012 at 12:35 pm Permalink

    Hello Boyce,
    It’s a very nice day out indeed. Stop being cynical and come along! You’re guaranteed good fun, plus if it facilitates conversation, debate, awareness-raising and attention, then it’s succeeded in its aims.

  8. Chloe
    26/11/2012 at 5:34 pm Permalink

    Be born Welsh, only take out a £3,465 loan and have the Welsh government pay the rest in grants!!

  9. Chloe
    12/11/2012 at 7:59 pm Permalink

    Will we be marching under our own banner, as an independent Union, or marching under the NUS’s barrier (who’s DEMO it is) and an organisation we have no ties too?

  10. Chloe
    12/11/2012 at 8:14 pm Permalink

    Hey Oli,

    We’ll be attending under the SUSU “banner” as was approved at the last Union Council. Sam Ling asked for council’s approval to send students to this demonstration from a SUSU perspective, which includes, but not is not limited to the publicity and subsidising of the event for our members. Since I have the council minutes open at this point, I can tell you it was passed by a 89% majority 🙂 Hope that helps.

  11. Chloe
    Mike Hawke
    12/11/2012 at 11:31 pm Permalink

    Personally I think that £9k is too low, people will eventually see the real value in degrees and this will make students think long and hard about whether their degree is viable. The rise will thankfully bring to an end many of the lesser institutions around the country, and shut up the leftists who seem to populate every student union grossfully wasting money left, right, and centre on “equal opportunities” etcetera.
    Me, I think I will take advantage of SUSU’s generosity to bag myself a cheap trip to London. Pitty about the abject company in the bus but I guess thats what I paid for.

  12. Chloe
    13/11/2012 at 2:15 pm Permalink

    Hello Mike,
    Errr… erm… Okay, I’m not sure if you’re trolling me. If not, we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

  13. Chloe
    Shamlessley anonymous
    14/11/2012 at 3:02 pm Permalink

    Mike, I think you’ve just voiced the opinion of the majority of the student body!
    But honestly, who actualy gives a s*** about a silly walk through London? That last demo thing in 2010 went really well… yeah right! Look what happened to that; the introduction of £9 fees and ever-increasing post-grad fees.

    SUSU should stop wasting time and money going to these silly events which produce absolutely no outcome. If anything, it makes us students look pathetic. We should be focussing our efforts HERE in Southampton and campaigning for SOUTHAMPTON students at our own university.

    To hell with a so-called ‘national voice’.

  14. Chloe
    15/11/2012 at 12:34 pm Permalink

    Again Shamelessly Anonymous, as I’ve said previously, I’m doing what Union Council has mandated me to do.
    If you think that’s wrong, change our direction by pitching new policy at Union Council.

    But personally, I think protests are a great way of illustrating soliarity within the student movement and keeping education cuts on the agenda. It’ll whip up plenty of media coverage, politicians won’t be able to ignore it and London’s inhabitants will remember that 9K fees are NOT normal and nor should they be. Whether it makes a difference or not, you have to try. Plus it’s so much fun – there’s nothing to lose!

  15. Chloe
    13/11/2012 at 11:19 am Permalink

    Whilst I understand the uni is facing cuts, are they really offering a service worth 9k a year? I’m sure the vast majority of students have faced highly inefficient bureaucratic processes that bleed resources and money (has anyone ever tried to get a new ID card for example?) I would personally rather out union pressure the uni on doing everything it can to offer value for money, rather than shopping trips to London to get on tele…

  16. Chloe
    13/11/2012 at 2:18 pm Permalink

    Hello Matt,
    I know what you mean – the university doesn’t always get it right. But my actions are based upon what students (as voted for in Union Council) have mandated me/SUSU to do. If you believe our efforts are best redirected, bring the idea to Union Council and try to get it on our agenda.

    Also, I’d love to go shopping but unfortunately education is under threat – I’ll be far too busy protesting! Join me!

  17. Chloe
    13/11/2012 at 11:21 am Permalink

    Apologies for spelling and grammar… Autocorrects a B@&£h

  18. Chloe
    13/11/2012 at 2:54 pm Permalink

    Hi Matt,

    Some of the points you are making, I think, reflect some of the negative consequences of the changes that the government has made. In charging people so much for a university degree I really worry that going to university is going to become more of a transaction than an education.

    All the talk of ‘value for money’ etc. really does put in jeopardy what is very much, at the moment, a collabative relationship between students and lecturers. Personally, I know my PhD supervisor really values presenting his research to his students, through lectures and teaching. He tells me that he learns as much from his students and from teaching as he does from the work he does directly on his own research. However, if you are paying up to £50,000 [total debt at graduation] for something, you are naturally going to start treating this as something that can be bought and demand value for money.

    So whilst I do think you’re right to say that you want the university to provide value for money, I also think that it is pretty sad that the sort of collaberative relationship between students and lecturers is being put at risk by the fee hike.


  19. Chloe
    13/11/2012 at 11:48 pm Permalink

    Hi George,

    My point is not really aimed at lecturers, I probably should have made that clear…. However just because it is an higher education institution, doesn’t justify the uni wasting money and not fulfilling the services they promise to provide. My relationship with lecturers has always been good, but unfortunately, other areas of university have let me down. For example, due to a paper work cock up by the university, I had a debt collection agency issued to collect £20 from me. I wouldn’t expect this treatment whether I was paying £3k, £9k or 1 penny a year!

  20. Chloe
    13/11/2012 at 4:56 pm Permalink

    If this has been organised by current university students maybe it will be calmer than the last ‘rallies’. I’m from london and a lot of people I knew who were 17 and not planning on even going to uni went just to be scallywags in central London.

    Hopefully there will be less violence and less ‘kettling’ or whatever the Police did last time!

    PS. I think anon’s silly.

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