The following is a press statement I received from UCL Occupation and have posted it here for everyone’s information.
Students to march on the City
Tens of thousands of students predicted to march against fees, cuts and privatisation on November 9th
National demonstration will go to the City, rather than to Parliament
Students plan to derail the government’s HE white paper
Demonstration a key date in the autumn of resistance, ahead of the November 30th strike action
The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts is expecting tens of thousands of students to come to London on November 9th for a national demonstration to defend education from fees, cuts and privatisation.
Following a student assembly on 9th October, the demonstration now has a route. It will march from the University of London Union (ULU) at 12 noon, and will go on to the City. Police negotiations will start later this week.
The demonstration was called by the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts and is officially supported by the National Union of Students (NUS).
The government’s higher education white paper, announced this summer, is one of the main targets for the student movement. It has been attacked by academics, students and university heads for its implications for access and marketisation.
In the lead-up to and aftermath of the November 9th demonstration, more walkouts and campus occupations are anticipated.
Michael Chessum, from the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts and a member of the NUS national executive, said: “The government’s HE white paper is a threat to the whole idea of education in Britain. Education should be a public service, accessible to all – not a corporate enterprise.”
He added: “In marching on the City, we will be sending a clear message that we will not allow the government to get away with handing over education to the markets. Last year MPs betrayed a generation of people when they voted for a tripling of tuition fees and scrapped EMA.The fight for education is not over, and we are determined to set the tone for the rest of the autumn.”
Edward Bauer, Vice President Education at Birmingham University, said: “City traders speculated with our homes, jobs and public services, causing misery for millions. Now the government is demanding cuts to our education and the privatisation of our universities. The city lies at the heart of the political and economic problem that caused the crisis, and it is there that we will make our voices heard loudest.”
Mark Bergfeld, from the Education Activist Network, said: “Students and lectuers will use the demonstration on November 9 as a building block to the public sector general strike on November 30. This demonstration seeks to bring together all those academics, students and educationalists together who are fighting for a university not tied to the market. Our education is not their business.”
Maev McDaid, President at the Liverpool University Guild, said: “The white paper leaves us with no choice – we have to oppose the intrusion of the market on to our campuses. There is a serious concern that a whole generation of young people will be excluded from higher education.”
Luke Durigan, Education and Campaigns Officer at UCL Union, said: “The White Paper is more than just an attack on public funding for universities; it threatens to completely recast the idea of a public university. The government is carrying out these plans without democratic mandate, students and staff are determined to put a stop to them.”