Winter conference 2017 motions and amendments released!

winter conf cover

The final motions and amendments submitted to Winter Conference by members and affiliated groups have now been released! You can read them all here.

Please see here for a guide to how motions and our conference democracy work. Members will be debating and voting on these motions at conference, so please have a read through before you arrive in Liverpool and be sure to join in the with the discussions at conference.

Don’t forget – there’s still time to register your FREE place at our upcoming conference if you haven’t done so already! Simply fill in this online form.

See you in Liverpool!

Winter Conference 2017 motions released!

winter conf cover

The motions submitted to Winter Conference by members and affiliated groups have now been released! You can read them all here.

Any individual member of NCAFC may submit amendments to any of these motions before 6pm on Monday 4th December. These amendments must be sent to [email protected]

Please see here for a guide to how motions and our conference democracy work.

Don’t forget – there’s still time to register your FREE place at our upcoming conference if you haven’t done so already! Simply fill in this online form.

See you in Liverpool!

#FreeEdNOW: Demo live blog

#FreeEdNOW demonstration live blog. London, 15 November 2017.
Blogged by @alasdair_clark

The 2017 national demonstration live blog; follow for the hottest news and pictures, straight from the streets throughout the day. To submit pictures or content from the demonstration, post on #FreeEdNOW tagging @NCAFC_UK

16:05:

Now approaching Whitehall

15:16:

Our banner leading the march!

14:03:

#FreeEdNOW is opened by NUS Trans Officer, Jess Bradley

“We fight for students who don’t have the time to write essays because they work 3 jobs while rich fucks don’t even pay their tax.”

13:47: 

No comment needed.

13:44: 

Students heard chanting, “education such a mess, where the fuck is NUS”

13:30: 

We’re enjoying the fantastic sound of your music and chanting, keep it up!

13:20:

Sarah Gillborn, a PhD student at Leeds Beckett and one of the organisers behind their protest on campus told NCAFC about the local issues they are protesting against as part of the fight for free education:

“At Leeds Beckett, the library used to be open to the community and free for everyone to use, but recently management made the decision that only students and staff would be allowed to use it.

“Universities should be a part of the community they exist in, and those who aren’t able to enrol as a student should still be able to benefit from resources like the library.

“It shouldn’t be shut off to those who can’t afford to study and take on huge levels of debt.”

13:05:

NCAFC are proud to include DemoHQ as part of our demonstration, building accessibility into all of our action is vital.

NUS Disabled Students Officer, Rachel O’Brien, says that DemoHQ is a vital part of any demonstration:

“It gives people who can’t march – be that for disability reasons or otherwise – a place to go and do essential work for the Free Education Demo. It makes our labour visible, and gives it equal value to the labour of the people who are marching.”

12:50:

Are you unable to join the march today, but keen to help out in other ways? You can join the team at DemoHQ. Get in touch for more information

12:44

Strong placard game here, can you do any better?

12:35: 

Students at Leeds Beckett have organised a demonstration on campus

12:20: 

Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas supports  demonstrators – tax the rich for free education

12:15: 

Make sure you shout that bit louder for Katie’s nanna today

11:20: 

Messages of solidarity are coming from staff trade unions across the country, and many will join us to march through London today. The fight against fees and cuts relies on student and workers unity

11:15:

Tax the rich, especially that guy…

10:35: 

Good morning! Before we get started, here’s some advice put together by NUS Black Students Officer, Ilyas Nagdee. Know your rights when dealing with the police:

19:15:
For some, the fun just can’t start soon enough! Aberdeen students will be travelling through the night to attend #FreeEdNOW tomorrow. Send them some love!

FREE EDUCATION NOW – TAX THE RICH// SCRAP ALL FEES // LIVING GRANTS FOR ALL // STOP THE CAMPUS CUTS

 

 

Justice for University of London Workers!

Placard: "If outsourcing is such good value for money, outsource management!"Solidarity with workers at University of London who are going on strike on November 21 for in-house contracts, secure hours, and pay rises to various staff.

These workers, made up of security guards, porters, cleaners, and receptionists, are organized with their trade union Independent Workers of Great Britain.

Students from various London unis have started a solidarity campaign, Justice for University of London Workers, which has already been formally supported by Students’ Union UCL.

We call on students and others in the community to support this campaign and get involved!

What can you do?

More information about the dispute can be found here.


Motion: Justice for University of London workers

Please adapt this motion as appropriate for your union and propose it to a general meeting, council or other democratic decision-making forum in your union!

Students’ Union notes

  1. Workers at the University of London (UoL, of which [your university] is a part) are campaigning against unjust working conditions. They want an end to discriminatory outsourcing and insecure zero hour contracts, respect at work, and the pay rises UoL promised them 6 years ago.
  2. Most of them are on low wages, with some having to work 70-plus hours per week to get by. If UoL had kept its pay promises, security guards for instance would be earning 25% more.[1]
  3. These workers are disproportionately BME, women and migrants. Tackling low pay and precarity are necessary to closing the discriminatory gaps in our university.
  4. They have tried negotiating, and have now been forced to begin calling strikes as the university managers aren’t listening.
  5. Students from [your university] and other UoL institutions have come together to set up a student and community support campaign, Justice for University of London Workers.[2]
  6. Our union has a record of solidarity for workers at the University of London, and they have reciprocated with support for our campaigns against fees.

Students’ Union believes

  1. The workers’ demands are right and this injustice is a stain on our university community. It is wrong that senior managers get exorbitant salaries and outsourcing companies’ bosses get their pockets lined while poorer workers are subject to these conditions.
  2. Solidarity between students and university staff is a reciprocal relationship that vitally helps our own campaigns too.
  3. Workers fighting against low pay and precarity push up conditions in the whole labour market, so while students are also struggling in exploitative jobs we have an interest in supporting campaigns like this.

Students’ Union resolves

  1. To support this campaign by the UoL workers through their union, the IWGB, and the student and community solidarity campaign, Justice for UoL Workers.
  2. To support campaign action by the workers and student supporters, including industrial action, protests, lobbying and direct action.
  3. To promote a fundraising campaign for the workers’ strike fund.
  4. To use our communication channels, including all-student emails, to inform students of the campaign and future campaign events, and to encourage them to get involved.
  5. For a representative of the Students’ Union to send an email to the Vice Chancellor of UoL, Adrian Smith, calling on him to meet the demands of the campaign.

References

[1] https://www.facebook.com/uoliwgb/

[2] https://www.facebook.com/JusticeforUOLWorkers/

NSS Boycott 2018: SU model motion

boycott-the-nss

This is a model motion that activists can pass through their students’ union to mandate support for the 2018 NSS boycott. If you want any support running an NSS boycott campaign on your campus, get in touch with us via [email protected]!

 

This union notes:

  1. Over the past year, the government introduced a series of reforms to higher education. [1]
  2. At their heart is the Teaching Excellence Framework which ranks universities Bronze, Silver and Gold according to a set of metrics including the National Student Survey (NSS) and graduate earnings. [2]
  3. The HE reforms and TEF are already causing job cuts in multiple universities, for example in Manchester where over 100 redundancies have been announced, explicitly citing changes to HE policy as a reason. Previous moves towards marketisation since 2010 have also contributed towards recent job cuts. [3]
  4. In 2016, NUS National Conference passed a policy to boycott the NSS until the TEF is scrapped and the HE reforms are withdrawn. [4]
  5. In at least 12 institutions, NSS response rates dropped below 50% as a result of the boycott, making the results unusable. In many others, response rates have also fallen significantly. [5]
  6. The boycott was widely reported in the media and mentioned in parliamentary debates around the Higher Education and Research Act. [6]
  7. In 2017, Theresa May announced that tuition fees for the following academic year would not go up. However, there has been no guarantee that the freeze will continue for future years or that TEF and fees will be delinked. [7]
  8. The NSS itself has been discredited as a measure of teaching quality, including by the Royal Statistical Society. Its results have also been proven to reflect racial bias. [8][9]

This union believes:

  1. TEF not only does not adequately measure teaching quality, it is a threat to higher education as we know it and needs to be resisted by any means available to us.
  2. TEF means universities are chasing metrics and not meaningfully improving standards for students or staff.
  3. Successful NSS boycott campaigns at multiple universities forced TEF and wider higher education policy onto the national agenda.
  4. The NSS boycott contributed towards the government temporarily severing the link between TEF and tuition fees.
  5. The government’s efforts to limit the effects of the boycott, by halving the weight of NSS as a metric and using data from previous years in institutions where response rates fall below 50%, are meant to discourage students from boycotting the survey. This shows that the leverage is effective and the student movement cannot afford to give up.
  6. The government and university managers need NSS results not only to implement the TEF, but to manage the already-existing marketisation of the university system. By refusing to fill it out, we can therefore disrupt their business and gain leverage that helps students push them to concede to our campaign.
  7. NSS turnout or results should never be tied to SU funding. We need to stand in solidarity with any SU that receives threats of funding cuts because of participating in the national campaign. Such blackmail from some universities is a despicable attack on union autonomy.
  8. To keep up the pressure on the government, the NSS boycott needs to continue, as part of a wider campaign against TEF, the HE reforms and marketisation.

This union resolves:

  1. To promote a boycott of NSS 2018 and in future years until the reforms are withdrawn. This may include:
    1. Refusing to promote the NSS or have any pro-NSS material with the SU logo on;
    2. Working with UCU to discourage NSS promotion by academics and encourage academics to actively provide information about the boycott to students;
    3. Promoting the boycott through posters, leafleting, door-knocking and social media, before the survey is released and throughout the time when it’s open;
    4. Taking part in national and local actions and demonstrations linked to the NSS boycott and the campaign against TEF, the Tory HE reforms and marketisation
  2. To call on other students’ unions to join the boycott – the bigger it grows, the stronger we are.
  3. To campaign against any link between NSS and SU block grants and actively support any union which receives threats from its university due to participation in the boycott.

NOTES

[1] https://services.parliament.uk/bills/2016-17/highereducationandresearch.html
[2] http://www.hefce.ac.uk/lt/tef/
[3] https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/may/10/university-of-manchester-to-axe-171-staff-amid-brexit-concerns
[4] https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/apr/20/students-vote-to-sabotage-plans-to-rate-teaching-in-universities
[5] http://wonkhe.com/blogs/nss-boycott-2017/ 
[6] https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2017-03-06/debates/1417811C-0D3C-4193-AB3E-C14687EB6D64/HigherEducationAndResearchBill
[7] https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/student-finance-reforms-raise-questions-over-sector-funding-and-tef
[8] https://www.rss.org.uk/Images/PDF/influencing-change/2016/RSS-response-to-BIS-Technical-Consultation-on-Teaching-Excellence-Framework-year-2.pdf 
[9] https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/biased-students-give-bme-academics-lower-nss-scores-says-study

NSS Boycott 2018 – time to go bigger and better!

boycott-the-nss

This piece is written by NCAFC National Committee member Hope Worsdale. If you want any advice or support on running an NSS boycott on your campus, get in touch with us via [email protected]!

Last year’s NSS boycott was a hugely successful campaign that engaged thousands of students on campuses across the country, caused waves in the press and media and brought the TEF and the Tory government more generally under heightened scrutiny. That pressure needs to continue and build going forward in order to further delegitimise the government’s plans for Higher Education (HE) which are already widely regarded in the sector as reckless and damaging.

So what has changed since last year? Well, as a result of the boycott campaign, the government has continually bent over backwards to find a way around it. They have implemented shady, flimsy mechanisms by which institutions can play a “get out of jail free card” if they have been severely impacted by the boycott, and they’ve also halved the weighting of the NSS as a TEF metric. But there’s only a certain amount of fudging they can do. The student movement has backed them into a corner through the boycott and we need to continue pushing forward until they have nowhere left to hide. The more they are forced to make ridiculous tweaks to the system as a result of a boycott, the more unworkable and fragile the TEF becomes.

It’s also worth considering that, quite clearly, the government has put these mechanisms in place precisely because they want to deter students and SUs from engaging in another round of boycotting the NSS. Letting up on the boycott now would mean that the student movement would be perfectly playing into the government’s hands, and that is simply not an option. If the government want to play games in order to desperately cling on to this diabolical system, we’d better make sure we give them hell and make it as unworkable as possible.

Another recent development is that the government has announced that they are freezing fees for now at £9250. The only “guarantee” we have is that this freeze will last for a year – they are being deliberately vague about what their plans beyond that are. Campaigning by students and workers in HE, not least through the NSS boycott, had already forced the government to delay the link between TEF and fee rises for a few years anyway. But ultimately, the whole premise behind TEF is that it’s a tool of marketisation which will be used to establish differentiated fee levels in HE – there is no reason to believe that this is not still going to happen. Hence this is yet another reason why we need to build on the progress that’s already been made and keep the pressure up through another round of boycotting. Also, put simply, this government is in absolute disarray and chaos around HE policy – Jo Johnson and Theresa May are consistently saying different things in relation to universities and we cannot and should not trust anything that comes out of their mouths. We must stand firm in our stance as a student movement because there’s every chance that one or two years (or even a few months to be honest…) down the line they will have made a U-turn, changed their policy and thrown students under the bus once again.

It’s important to also remind ourselves of all the things that have not changed at all. The TEF still exists, and the NSS is still being used as a metric to measure teaching quality. This is utterly nonsensical and completely devalues and misrepresents teaching that happens in our universities and we absolutely must reject this system. The NSS has always been a fundamentally flawed mechanism through which it has been shown that women and BME academics get consistently lower scores. It also does nothing to meaningfully highlight where genuine improvements can be made in our education system as it’s centred around quantitative data in place of actually discursively engaging with students and staff on the ground. Not only do we reject “student voice” through the NSS being used to marketise our education system within TEF, but we reject legitimising such a damaging and frankly useless tool which has long been used as a stick to beat staff with, which reproduces structural oppression and which props up bullshit league tables.

So while we are not in exactly the same situation as we were this time last year, many things have actually remained the same. The TEF still exists, NSS is still used as a TEF metric, and there is absolutely no concrete reason to believe that the government is letting up on their plans for differentiated fee levels (including further rises) in the near future. Last year showed the power that students can wield through the boycott and just how shaky this government is on HE policy. Now would be the worst possible time to step away from this campaign – our only option is to go even bigger and harder this year.

“Universities under Labour”: a NCAFC workshop report from The World Transformed

 

NCAFC workshop participants engaging in group discussion

NCAFC workshop participants engaging in group discussion

On Sunday 24th September, activists from NCAFC ran a session at The World Transformed entitled “Universities Under a Labour Government”. The session brought together around 60 participants with a range of experiences and perspectives on Higher Education (HE).

The aim of the workshop was to collectively explore what an alternative HE system could look like under a Labour government. During the general election, Labour’s pledges to scrap tuition fees and reinstate maintenance grants gained mass support not just from students but also wider society – this is a great foundation on which the movement can build. However, these were the only policies in the HE section of the manifesto. NCAFC has always been clear that scrapping fees is not enough if we truly want to create an alternative to a marketised HE system, and thus there is a great opportunity for the left to push within Labour for a set of radical and comprehensive policies around universities.

The session began with a brief overview of the current state of higher education under the Tories, which covered the following themes:

  • Marketisation; system driven by “value for money” rhetoric
  • Enormous fees and debt
  • Casualisation of staff
  • Widening gap between workers and senior management
  • Mental health crisis
  • Soaring rents and cost of living crisis
  • The employability “conveyor belt”
  • Strengthening links between universities and corporations

Following on from this, the workshop participants were split into 3 different “perspective” groups – ‘students’, ‘workers’ (both academic and non-academic), and ‘wider society’. The following question was then posed:

  • What is the purpose and value of HE, and what key principles should underpin it?

The 3 groups then endeavoured to collectively respond to these questions from the specific perspective assigned to each of them. A summary of the key discussion points from each group are as follows:

“STUDENTS” PERSPECTIVE

  • Encouraging and fostering critical & political thinking
  • Advancing knowledge and skills; thus equipping students for jobs (though this should not be the main focus!)
  • Pursuing interests and passions
  • Accessible to people of all identities and backgrounds
  • Having a diversity of knowledge
  • Having fun!
  • Having parity with other forms of education
  • Democratic and collective
  • Collaboration and partnership between students and workers
  • Flexibility within studying
  • Being an integrated part of a community
  • Being progressive and socially responsible; equipping students with knowledge and tools to strive for a better world

“WORKERS” PERSPECTIVE

  • Critical thinking and creation of new visions
  • Democratic governance; an end to managerialism and hierarchical structures
  • In-housing/an end to outsourcing
  • Building alliances between students and workers
  • Unionisation and solidarity; improved working terms and conditions are a precondition but not an end goal
  • Challenging consumer mentality
  • Co-production of knowledge
  • Transformative pedagogy

“WIDER SOCIETY” PERSPECTIVE

  • Universities and local communities should be integrated into each other
  • Controlled rents so as not to negatively impact housing in local communities
  • Role in training NHS workers needs to be factored into workforce planning
  • Recognition that many students are workers in the local community
  • Centres of knowledge shouldn’t be exclusive; an end to profit motives
  • Stop corporations on campuses
  • Unis should be public organisations
  • In-house employment; strengthening accountability
  • Local communities should have open access to HE; e.g libraries, room bookings, public lecture series
  • Academic content should be freely shared with local communities, and those communities should be seen as collaborators in education too; e.g jointly organising courses with community organisations
  • Teaching and research based on what is socially useful for local communities

Following on from these break-out discussions, we formed new smaller discussion groups comprising of 2 or 3 participants from each of the 3 prior groups. These new groups were tasked with utilising the high-level principles explored in the first group discussion to collectively generate ideas for HE policy that the left should advocate for within Labour.

The policy ideas created by the groups covered a wide range of different areas and angles. For the purposes of this report we have consolidated all the ideas submitted to us and separated them out into the following broad themes/categories:

ACCESSIBILITY

  • Free childcare on campus
  • Universal living grants for all
  • Cap private school numbers in unis/expand uni places to ensure state school students are not shut out? (Ideally, abolish private schools! Though it’s not technically HE policy…)
  • An offering of flexible, non-traditional courses e.g evening classes, short courses
  • Language support for international students

PUBLIC EDUCATION

  • Ban private providers
  • Public access to certain university spaces as well as academic content e.g journals and lectures
  • University investment into local communities e.g social housing programmes

WORKERS’ RIGHTS

  • Proper employment contracts; abolish outsourcing and casualisation
  • Pay ratios between highest and lowest paid workers; 5:1? 3:1..?

DEMOCRACY

  • Research and resources being publicly owned and decided; based on what is socially useful
  • Replace “Vice Chancellor model” with democratic interdepartmental model; key positions elected
  • Fair student, worker and community representation on governing boards
  • Robust accountability mechanisms

FUNDING

  • Equalised funding for all institutions; fair and comprehensive public funding formula
  • Scrap all fees; including for international and PG students!
  • Parity of funding for faculties/disciplines as well as full-time and part-time

MEASURING SUCCESS…?

  • Abolish league tables
  • Scrap the NSS (National Student Survey)!
  • Abolish Research Excellence Framework (REF) and Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)

 

At the end of the session, discussion groups fed back one or two key policy ideas they had generated and explained what the underpinning principles were behind the policy. In this feedback discussion it was noted that a lot of the policy ideas explored centred around areas which, under the current system, fall under the autonomous decision-making remit of individual universities. In order to overcome this a Labour government would – assuming that under Labour universities would be centrally funded if fees are to be scrapped – likely have to set out a framework that universities who receive state funding would be obliged to adhere to. Thus it is clear that Labour must be willing to radically overhaul the current system and be bold in implementing an alternative.

This workshop only scratched the surface of what a truly free, accessible, democratic and liberated HE system could look like in practice. It is the job of student movement and the wider left to continue to develop and build on these ideas in order to push towards a political programme in HE which is both winnable and transformative.

If you’re interested in these discussions, and you’d like to contribute to them by writing a piece for our website, get in touch with us via [email protected]. We want to hear from you!

Big thanks to The World Transformed for inviting us to give this workshop and to all those who came along and participated in what was an incredibly lively and exciting session. See you next year; if not sooner!

The NUS leadership is selling out on free education

Related image

By Andy Warren, NCAFC member in a personal capacity 

It takes a special kind of bureaucrat to abuse your power to undermine a political aim you avowedly support but apparently wouldn’t piss on if it was on fire. Luckily, that’s exactly what we have in our esteemed leader Shakira Martin and the cowardly and pathetic model of politics she represents.

A motion put forward to NUS’s National Executive Council, which argues for NUS support for NCAFC’s free education now demo, has been ruled out of order by Martin on the grounds that an entirely different motion was not heard or remitted to the NEC by NUS conference. Unwilling to actually argue against supporting a free education demo, Martin has decided that it’s much simpler to not give a toss about democracy, debate, or free education. Scared of losing an argument, or having to take an actual position on it, which risks exposing the contradictions of being an apolitical leader of a political organisation? Just don’t let the debate happen.

Apparently, the solution to a motion you don’t like isn’t arguing against it. It isn’t a raising tactical question about whether we should undertake x or y action. Heaven forbid it be taking a political stance against its demands, especially if it’s a demand like free education, which commands such support in the NUS that right (including Martin) made no attempt whatsoever to oppose at conference. You don’t even allow it to pass but do nothing about it, a path well trodden by NUS throughout the ages. Nope, you should just illegitimately and undemocratically declare it out of order. It’s impressive the Martin feels able to do this against the weight of precedent, where the identical motions not heard at conference – unlike this one, which is wholly different – are frequently resubmitted to the NEC. This isn’t even the blatant misuse of a convoluted rule; literally nothing in the playbook of being an NUS hack, a demobiliser of activism or a sucker for bureaucratic solutions to your political irritations underwrites Martin’s decision – just the cowardice that leads someone to think that if you think you’re going to lose a political argument, better not risk it. I was at the conference which elected Martin – somehow I missed the bumper stickers saying “fuck politics, rule it out of order”.

Let’s be clear about this. When the leadership of a union undermines a struggle that their membership is waging within their sector against the government, they are scabbing. If the leaders of a trade union purposefully undermined their workers’ fight for better pay and conditions, we would call that leadership scabs. Although I regularly wish it wasn’t the case, the NUS is our union. Education is our sector and the fight for free education – at its sharpest since 2010 – is our fight. NUS conference reaffirmed its commitment to campaign for free education at our latest conference. Martin’s disingenuous manoeuvrings are undermining that campaign. The only possible conclusion is that Shakira Martin is a scab.  

If this reads like an attack on Martin herself – her politics, her principles, her leadership – you’re only half right. A coward who pays lip service to free education but nothing more, an individual who undermines the opportunities students win for themselves through years of campaigning, an apolitical bureaucrat who tries to suck the radicalism and militancy out of the student movement – this description could apply to any number of NUS presidents our movement has endured over the years. It is far from unique to want to sell out your membership. A union which scabs by undermining the struggle of its members at the precise moment where a huge advance is possible is as old as unionism itself. The politics Martin represents is much bigger than her – the cowardice and complacency of that politics, and its spectacular willingness to buckle under pressure, is the real problem.

But this does not absolve Martin of responsibility. She chairs the NEC; she ruled the demo motion out of order. She must own it or retract it.

This kind of behaviour is always disgusting, but at a time when a huge opening for a radical, democratic free education system has been created through years of struggle by grassroots activists, leading to the wildly successful adoption of free education policy by Labour, it’s a cut above your average right-wing union bureaucrat. It’s about squandering the biggest opportunity that we’ve had for free education since fees were introduced nearly 20 years ago.

It’s time for Martin and every other NEC member who proclaims their desire for free education on NUS conference floor to get elected but actively stands in the way of the fight for it to make up their minds. Shit or get off the pot.

NUS President Shuts Down Debate About Fighting For Free Education

NCAFC submitted a motion to the National Union of Students National Executive Council (NEC) in support of our free education demo in November so that NUS could help us resource and build it.

The President of NUS has unfairly ruled out the motion from being heard on the basis that conference voted not to discuss a completely different motion including a part about a demo, with different demands.

For explanation: at the conference it’s common to run out of time in motions debates, and when that happens, the conference votes on whether or not to defer all these motions to the next NEC. However, it is commonplace for NEC members to re-submit individual motions if they’re deemed significant enough and don’t contradict existing NUS policy – this happened, for example, at the last NEC meeting where a few motions not discussed at conference were debated and voted on.

 

However, this time the President Shakira Martin has claimed that because a previous motion regarding a demo was among the motions not heard at conference, and conference voted for them not to be deferred to NEC, this motion cannot be debated – even though this is not how the rules work, and despite the motion being a completely new one.

 

However, this time the President Shakira Martin has claimed that because a previous motion regarding a demo was among the motions conference voted to not be deferred to NEC, this motion cannot be debated. Not only is this is not in line with NUS rules, the motion in question is a completely new one.

There is absolutely no justification for this. This is clearly nothing but a shameless political manoeuvre which demonstrates no regard for democratic process and the principle of honest discussion and debate. Instead of openly arguing against a motion she presumably opposes, the President is hiding behind a bureaucratic measure – one which is likely to be unconstitutional and which we will be challenging in every possible way.

 

It is also frustrating to see that, at a time when free education is literally within our reach – as a result of years and years of relentless organising by students across the country – the President of our national union has taken such a hostile stance towards those actively pushing to make free education a reality.

 

We’ve just come out of a general election where Labour has won the support of millions of young people and students with scrapping tuition fees as a headline policy. In the months that have followed, senior figures across the political spectrum have come out against the fees regime. Support for free education is widespread and growing. Now is exactly the time to keep up the pressure to win an education system that is truly free and accessible to all.

 

NUS has policy to campaign for free education, and yet our National President – who claims to support the policy – is in a blatantly undemocratic way undermining students trying to do so. The demo will of course go ahead regardless. We will still fight for the motion to be heard, and work hard to build the demo no matter what happens. We are extremely disappointed by the actions of NUS leadership, and are hoping that the decision will be reversed. Either way, we cannot be discouraged. Now is our time. See you on the streets on November 15th!

For reference:

Motion submitted to NEC “Support the Free Education NOW – Tax The Rich National Demo” LINK

Motion submitted to NUS Conference “Motion HE216 | A national demo as part of a strategy to stop the HE reforms” LINK

 

Join the Free Education NOW speaker tour

This Autumn NCAFC will be running a speaker tour to spread our vision for education nationally and build for the Free Education NOW- Tax the Rich National Demo on November 15. Have the speaker tour visit you!

NCAFC activists will be traveling all over the UK to different schools and unis to talk about our demands for the demo- scrap all fees, living grants for all, and stop campus cuts. We are asking local anti-cuts groups, SUs, etc. to fill out the form below to secure a speaker before the time of the demo.

However, we are an organisation of volunteer activists, resourced by donations from activists and the occasional trade union – we don’t have much money! Producing enough publicity to spread the word around the country costs thousands of pounds. If you have any spare cash you can donate to the cost of building the demo, please do so using the button below.

If you are a student union or other well-resourced organisation that can pay to cover travel costs for the speaker coming to visit you, please indict that on the form- it would be greatly appreciated! Every donation we get allows us to help fund speaker’s travel for activists who don’t have access to much money.

If you’d like to host a speaker tour event or have a NCAFC activist come to your campus to speak just email againstfeesandcuts[at]gmail.com

We can also support you by helping put you in touch with other speakers such as someone from a local UCU branch and with promotion such as by creating you an event photo from our template graphic, example below –

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