Warwick SU will not join NUS walk-out

If previous protests are anything to go by, March 14 will see a potential 50,000 students take to the streets, demonstrating against fee increases, education cuts and the debt regime – but Warwick SU does not back the idea of a walk-out.

The National Union of Students has called for a countrywide campus walk-out as part of its ‘Week of Action’, requesting that in the context of an on-going war on education, students show the government their continued opposition to current policy.

An email was sent to students in February, informing them of NUS plans to hold an Action Week in March. A national walkout is scheduled for Wednesday 14 and a lobby of parliament for 18 April.

In the newsletter, NUS president Liam Burns urged students to boycott seminars and lectures on the14th, protesting against the “pricing of students out of education”.

The ‘Week of Action’ will show the government that “students will not stand by and let the coalition government press ahead with its destructive policies to privatise our universities,” said Burns.

In the face of the indefinite postponement of the Higher Education Bill, the NUS want this to be the biggest day of protests ever, calling for marches, demonstrations and occupations across the country.

The call for action comes after a consultation with the membership on what the NUS’s campaigning priorities should be.

The union feel action is most effective: “The government need to see what campuses will look like if they press ahead with their plans for privatisation – deserted,” said Burns.

However, when asked, most students were unaware of the NUS’s plans.

Others appeared apathetic towards potential protests – “If it means I’ll miss my lectures I’ll get involved,” one said.

Law student Sam Hill said he was “angered” by the government’s plans, but saw attempts to protest as “futile.”

“At the end of the day, the government will do as they please. The protests didn’t work last time. What’s changed?”

Other students disagreed, however. Kit Long, a third-year Union Councillor argued: “The truth is that the reforms to Higher Education will make it significantly easier for students from low-income families to attend university.”

Leo Boe, President of Warwick Students’ Union clarified its position: “Although we won’t be facilitating or calling for a walk-out at Warwick, a tactic we don’t think would be very impacting, we will be using the week to find out how much current students have spent… as part of our Pound in Your Pocket campaign.”

Sean Ruston, Education Officer at Warwick Students’ Union, said “The specific walkout is one of the tactics being encouraged. That we are not going with, because we don’t think it will be as effective on Warwick campus.”

He added that he felt Warwick was somewhere where the walk out would not work as well, explaining that “Our campaign is more based around lobbying the University, rather than condemning government action.”


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