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From The Socialist newspaper, 25 May 2001

Students and Socialist councillors fight fees' threats

A LIVELY demonstration of around 40 people gathered on Wednesday 16 May to protest against Coventry university's punitive actions against students unable to pay their fees.

Naomi Byron

Socialist Councillor Rob Windsor, who is the Socialist Alliance parliamentary candidate in Coventry South, handed in a letter of protest from the Socialist Party group on Coventry city council to Dr Mike Goldstein, Vice-Chancellor of the university.

Speakers at the protest made it clear that the real problem lies with the New Labour government who imposed fees and scrapped maintenance grants for students at university. Since 1998, when fees were introduced, university funding has gone down by 7%.

According to university press statements there are still 625 non-payers who have been sent exclusion notices. These students have been "blocked" from access to university facilities such as the library and computers since early April, just at the time students needed access to the facilities most.

Notices have been posted around the university telling excluded students: "You are not entitled to take any of your examinations".

The university is allowing them to take them "on a provisional basis" but says they will refuse to mark the papers until they receive the full fees.

All kinds of students have been excluded and the university's actions will force a number of non-payers to just drop out of university. Already one in three undergraduates fails to finish their degree; financial problems is the biggest single reason. But even the non-payers who somehow manage to borrow the money to stay and finish their courses will get lower grades than they are capable of.

Particularly for the universities with more students from poorer backgrounds, fees are becoming unworkable. The levels of non-payment are hard for them to sustain.

But the only solution to this problem is for universities to campaign publicly for the abolition of fees. Attacking students' rights will not help the situation.

While we continue the campaign to defend non-payers against the university's strategy of exclusions, the Socialist Party and Socialist Students are taking the issue to Labour candidates in Coventry. The campaign to reinstate free university education for all is growing.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
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  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 25 May 2001:

Keep The Private Vultures Out

Break The Chains Of Poverty

Labour's union links crack at seams

Asylum - Labour and Tories up the stakes

Fat Cat at Wakefield Mayor's Ball

Socialist Alliance hits the airwaves

Students and Socialist councillors fight fees' threats

Green Party - A serious Left alternative?

Plaid Cymru - good old fashioned socialism?

SNP: Standing up for big business

Law and order: Soft on a criminal system

No to a bosses' Europe: Fight for workers' unity

Middle East - Edging closer to all-out war


 

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Related links:

Fees:

trianglePay full fees for virtual courses? - No way!

triangleNorth London Socialist Party: How can Corbyn's policies be implemented?

triangleStudents and workers unite against fees, low pay climate change

triangleTheresa May admits tuition fees system is broken - but plans new attacks on students

triangleTop unis threaten cuts if tuition fees

Students:

triangleCoronavirus: Students' charter

triangleCoronavirus - a students' charter

trianglePlymouth students discuss rent strike

triangleSocialist Students speaking tour

Socialist:

triangleLondon Socialist Party: Workers' safety before bosses' profits

triangleSE Birmingham Socialist Party: Role of the community and voluntary sector

triangleSE Birmingham Socialist Party: Was the Coronavirus pandemic inevitable?

University:

triangleSouthampton: University workers win full pay for casual staff

triangleNottingham uni occupation ends

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