Students out in force for free education on TUC demo: one month to go until 19 November

Students perform a banner drop on the TUC national demo

Students perform a banner drop on the TUC national demo

Students mobilised in significant numbers for the Trade Union Congress (TUC) national demo on Saturday 18th October. A large number of them marched with our free education bloc, which was one of the loudest and most visible blocs on the demo.

Between 80,000 and 100,000 people marched on Saturday in the biggest demonstration for two years, under the banner of ‘Britain Needs a Pay Rise’.

Protesters also occupied Parliament Square, where a number of NCAFC activists joined in a stand-off with the police to hold the space. For more on that, click here.

There is now just under a month until we march in central London for free education on November 19th. NOW IS THE TIME TO ORGANISE!

  • For the facebook event click here.
  • For all the materials you need to mobilise, click here.

Final motions for National Conference released

Note after conference: not all of these motions passed. The following motions/amendments did NOT pass:

  • 3B
  • 8E

The document of amended proposals to National Conference 2013 has been released. These motions will be debated in Birmingham on the 23rd and 24th of November. The conference is open to all members of the campaign and is free to attend. You can register online at anticuts.com/register.

Alongside these motions, time will be set aside for a number of workshops and two plenary discussions on strikes and debt. To see what sessions have been planned for the weekend and more details about conference, have a look at the agenda at anticuts.com/conference

Download the motions document in PDF
Download the motions document in large format

Motions to National Conference

Motions for this year’s National Conference have been published. Conference will take place on the 23rd and 24th November in Birmingham. Registration is still open.

In addition to the motions below, special time has been scheduled for discussion of strategies on the education strikes and the privatisation of student debt.

Amendments will be accepteduntil 8pm Monday 18th November and should be submitted by email [email protected] may be submitted by local groups or individual members of the campaign. There is no set format for motions, though they should summarise your arguments and specify some positions or action to be taken.

Download the document here

NCAFC Conference 2013: Register now

Registration is now open for the National Campaign against Fees and Cuts Conference on the 23rd and 24th November in Birmingham.


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Join student activists from across the UK for a weekend of discussion, debate and decision-making, as supporters of the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts and others come together to decide the way forward in our fights for free, publicly-run, democratic education.

We will hear from student and worker activists in the education sector about the latest developments in the direction the sector is going in; hear about the history of our movement; and discuss ongoing struggles.

Students and workers who have taken part in successful fights, such as the recent victory at Birmingham, will speak about the lessons of their recent victories – and we will discuss how best to support ongoing fights, such as the squeeze on staff at universities like Liverpool.

All students who oppose fees and cuts, and want to see a democratic, fair, free education system run by the people who work and study in it are welcome to come and get involved!

On the second day, the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts will have a decision making conference, discuss motions and re-elect its national committee.

Information about agenda, submitting motions and standing for elections, as well as information about accommodation, venue and accessibility, will follow over the next few weeks.

NCAFC candidates for election at NUS National Conference

The NCAFC’s National Committee met on January 12th and 13th in Newcastle. At the meeting, we discussed what NCAFC should be doing at NUS conference, and we decided to support three NCAFC activists to run for full-time positions. [Read more…]

Block of 14 National Committee Detailed Election Results

At conference this weekend, elections were held for the Block of 14 on the national committee. There is a 40% self-defining women quota for the election, meaning a minimum of 6 women must have been elected. There were 16 candidates for election, of which 6 self-defined as women. The secretariat ruled that as only 6 women had nominated themselves for election, all shall be duly elected in line with the quota, and the election be held of the 10 remaining candidates for the remaining 8 seats on the block.

Liberations, regions, and nations elect representatives to National Committee autonomously and separately from this election for the Block of 14, and so are not included here.

You can view a round-by-round graphical analysis of the count for block of 14 here: ncafc-nc-dec12

 The new Block of 14 on the National Committee is:
  • Claire Lister
  • Roshni Joshi
  • Naomi Beecroft
  • Beth Redmond
  • Rosie Huzzard
  • Hannah Webb
  • James McCash
  • Luke Durigan
  • Dan Lemberger Cooper
  • Simon Furse
  • Michael Chessum
  • Matt Stanley
  • Ed Maltby
  • Gordon Maloney

 

28 days to save profitable course that faces closure because it does not fit “business model”

There is now only 28 days left to save this unique course. As environmentalists and anti-cuts activists we should all get behind this; it is essentially a case study of all the changes we stand against in the education sector. This is a market in education destroying a valuable course. This articulates in practice all that is wrong about the white paper.

This is a market in education destroying a valuable course. This articulates in practice all that is wrong about the white paper.

This is a course that is; valuable to the UK economy, which is helping conserve the environment and which is a profitable course for the University of Birmingham to run. Yet it is being closed because it does not fit the universities “research profile” because it is not a research intensive department.

Only one other institution in the entire country teaches these skillsl and both of these courses are oversubscribed. These skills are immensely valuable to conservation work and specialists have warned that its closure will lead to a “skills gap”. The Institute for Ecology and Environmental Matters (IEEM) the professional body that represents and supports ecologists and environmental mangers has condemned the closure for this reason.

There is a high demand for graduates from this profitable course and they nearly all go on to work in the sector.  Worse still as pointed by the IEEM in their report “closing the gap”   there is a growing gap in skills in this sector as the government and the EU create more jobs. Both The IEEM and Plantlife  have expressed concerned that this closure means that the demand naturalists with the necessary field skills won’t be met.

I met the students on the course this week and they have an incredible community, are dedicated to the course and are extremely angry. They are right to be angry, this course is perfectly profitable and is being closed as it does not fit in with the universities “business model”.

To summarize the need Biological recording is now widely regarded as vital for biodiversity processes within Britain; this course closure will affect this valuable work. On another level to close such a useful and economically valuable course because it won’t fit in with the “research profile” that a university is trying to create for the market is abhorrent and above all stupid.

Please all sign this petition and spread and share also if you can get any high profile endorsements against the closure that would be great .

Student protestor attacked by his own tory president

Tory Guild of student’s president Mark Harrop, who was responsible for the suspension of Edd Bauer, has identified one of his students to face disciplinary for a peaceful protest, further to this he negatively speculates against the student increasing his chance of being expelled.  The university on Marks evidence have decided to take the process to full disciplinary panel which will have the power to expel him.

Simon has been singled out, but the reason he has been singled out is because his own president has picked him out. “I recognised him because he is a guild councillor and well known” reads MarkHarrop’s statement to the university disciplinary committee. Simon has released a full version of Marks Statement and reveals in great detail the negative speculation Mark Harrop makes against him.

We have a long and proud history in this country of student protest. As students working in the education system we can’t go on strike. Instead we take our equivalent of a strike: we do sit-ins and occupations. We withdraw space because we can’t withdraw our labour. This has been a key feature of UK student activism for generations. In fact, at the University of Birmingham, all the student representation we have on university committees was won, in 1968, when 800 students occupied the Great Hall demanding a democratic voice. Ironically it is now these same representatives who are attacking Simon and the right to protest.

Update Mark how now withdrawn his statement  However he faces further allegations of wrong doing from the student. Many have commented that Mark is simpling attempting to “dig dig dig” a even bigger hole with further lies. He further has not yet addressed his role in the occupation and the the injunction banning protests outline in the students original post.

Back in office to fight the White paper in the new year.

Yesterday at 16:30 I was reinstated as VP Education at the University of Birmingham guild of students. At the beginning of the academic year 2011-12, I was suspended as an elected student representative, from the position of Guild Vice President Education. I was suspended from his post prior to the conclusion of any inquiry whatsoever. This suspension was quickly followed by my suspension from the University, this lasted an entire term although Ignored the ban from university premises throughout the suspension period.

The suspension lasted from September 27th to 20th of December despite widespread condemnation of the suspension and solid solidarity, including a letter signed by over 40 NUS sabbatical officers, a letter signed by MPs and trade union leaders, a letter signed by over 100 members of the University’s Department of Political Science and International Studies, a petition with over 900 signatures, and an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons.

Repeatedly throughout the process I challenged the guild to take the issue to a referendum, general meeting or student council. They never took up this offer despite having no other legitimate options for disciplining me after Simon Furse got Guild council to de-ratify the undemocratic policy they were attempting to use against me. I have now been reinstated and it is guild of student’s policy to now craft a new democratic disciplinary policy in consultation with experts like Sean Rillo Raczka ULU VP.

Statement on University of Birmingham Injunction

As reported in the guardian today on November 25th in a special sitting of the High Court paid for by the University of Birmingham, an injunction was granted to the University by Judge David Grant against “persons unknown” banning all protests and occupations on campus for twelve months. As this injunction applies to “persons unknown” it can potentially be used against all students and staff members.

Universities are meant to be bastions of debate and free speech and all universities should actively champion these principles. However, as the privatisation of higher education accelerates universities are losing the values that were once at the heart of the public education system, namely freedom of expression and democracy on campus.

Increasingly unaccountable high paid university executives are cracking down on all forms of dissent on universities campuses. They fear that student protests will impact badly on their PR campaigns where they are working to create a corporate image of their university that they sell in the new market in higher education.

Corporations have time and time again shown that they can’t tolerate democratic values like transparency and freedom of speech. This is bad enough in the banks and their covering up and hiding corrupt practices which lead to the financial crisis. However in universities – which are meant to be the home of free thinking – it is intolerable. We must take action to defend the public education system and freedom of speech on university campuses.

We are in contact with public interest lawyers [http://www.publicinterestlawyers.co.uk/] and we will fight this draconian injunction in court. However it is not good enough to simply wrangle legally. We must also fight this injunction in practice by disregarding it and organising more protests on the University of Birmingham campus to continue our fight for the public education system.