Students in Aberdeen have occupied against cuts! This is the report from their facebook group. Check out http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=372783687644 and http://www.adec.6te.net and send messages of support to firstname.lastname@example.org
On Wednesday March 17th at 2pm, students at the University of Aberdeen held a demonstration in defence of education on campus. It followed the collection of over 1500 signatures on a petition demanding that the University management give assurances that departmental budgets at the University will not be cut, that the University will not support the reintroduction of tuition fees in Scotland and that they will not privatise campus services. It also came three weeks after the same demands were made in a motion passed at the AGM of the Students’ Association, which represents the whole student body.
The demonstration culminated in the demands being made to the Senior Vice-Principal, Stephen Logan, who was asked to put his signature, on behalf of University management, to a statement opposing the reintroduction of tuition fees, adding their voice to that of the Russell Group of 20 in opposing cuts of university budgets and guaranteeing that neither student support services nor campus services would be outsourced as a result of cuts. He refused to do this and refused to discuss the issues raised by the students present. Therefore, a number of students have staged a sit-in in the University Office until management answers our demands.
We do not feel that the University’s response to our press release adequately addresses the issues we raised. It claims that the University has taken no position on the matter of the reintroduction of tuition fees in Scotland. However, on September 11th 2009, the Scotsman reported the Principal, Sir Duncan Rice, stating that “A different fees regime might…enable more income to come to universities. There is no shortage of individuals within higher education in Scotland who think seriously about such issues for us to be able to construct such a scheme – but the political consensus is such that it’s not on the agenda”. This represents support for the reintroduction of fees, which is why we demand that the University release a statement of opposition to this measure.
Our demands are very simple, and there is no reason why the University couldn’t have supported our requests. These demands are in no way radical, and they already have the effective support of the entire student body. In any other situation an organisation would be seeking to do what it can to ensure that its Governmental support remains where it is. Why should Universities pay for an economic crisis caused by others? In a recession it seems only logical that investment in the future of country, i.e. its education should take place. It is incomprehensible that the University wouldn’t do more in order to protect those students who are studying here. We are in a situation where there is no reason at all why the University can’t lend its support to something as simple as the ruling out of the reintroduction of tuition fees in Scotland and the opposition of the increase of fees in England. While it is good that the University is attractive to potential students, as stated in their response to our press release, the University needs to consider how attractive it will remain if tuition fees are introduced.
We feel betrayed that the university is not supporting what its students clearly demand. Why should their priorities not be the same as ours?