Photo: Billy Perrigo / Boar News

WFFE Grim reapers marching through Warwick campus

A group of Warwick students were seen marching through campus this afternoon dressed as grim reapers as part of a Warwick for Free Education (WFFE) campaign. 

Members of WFFE put on grim reaper costumes and marched down Library road shortly after 1pm on Wednesday 26.

Grim reapers on campus Photo: Billy Perrigo / Boar News

The students were marching to raise awareness about the government’s new Higher Education green paper. The paper sets out that high performing universities will be able to raise fees in line with inflation, whilst also stating that Universities will no longer be obliged to respond to Freedom of Information requests.

A representative of the WFFE told the Boar: “The Green paper is potentially dangerous to Higher Education in the country.”

She also suggested that there were concerns that the government was increasing the marketisation of universities, and doing so in a very technical way that students couldn’t understand.

She added: “The Grim reaper represents death and this is the death of the public Higher Education.”

Harmeet Randhawa, a third year student saw the march as it happened, she commented: “It was quite a good publicity strategy. The grim reaper costumes caught my attention!”

The protesters also handed out a flyer detailing the four elements of the green paper that heralded the “death of public higher education”.

1 – Teaching Excellence Framework:
“A new framework will now measure teaching excellence according to market-oriented metrics… ‘Excellent’ universities will be able to raise their fees with inflation from 2017”

2 – Private Universities
“Private providers” distinct from the state “will be given easier access to funding”, heralding further privatisation of higher education.

3 – Fee Rises
The new proposals give government ministers “power to raise fees themselves, bypassing a democratic vote in Parliament”.

4 – Student Organising
Under the new proposals, Students’ Unions will be “subject to increased monitoring”, potentially limiting the capacity of students to stand up for their own interests, under the logic that because the government is funding them, a certain degree of loyalty should be expected. Universities will also no longer be obliged to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests – a development that would significantly harm the ability of The Boar to report on issues important to students.

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