Letter to Don Foster Uni

Dear Don,

As our Liberal Democrat MP you are a spokesperson for Higher Education. It is your duty to protect, not only in terms of opposing the cuts to government funding that the University of Bath faces, but also in terms of the values and principles that underpin education as a social good that should be equally accessible to all. We are deeply concerned about the policies of the Coalition Government, which we did not vote for.

 

We call on you to address our questions as our MP. We need to know if you share our concerns.

Concern 1: We are concerned that the proposed changes to funding of Higher Education will create wider inequalities. Even the suggestion of financial help for the very poorest will not enable the reality of equal access for all. Many potential students will be unable to contemplate the very much higher levels of debt.

Questions 1 : Does the probability of widening inequality, and education becoming a luxury of the rich, concern you to?

Concern 2: If higher education is not equally accessible to all in a real sense then we risk failing to develop the talents of all. This would be economically damaging and ethically wrong.

Question 2: Do you agree that higher education is a wider economic and social good?

Concern 3 : We are worried that the coalition proposals effectively mean the privatisation of higher education. We believe education is a public good and right.

Question 3: Do you agree that education should be a right not a consumer product for those with money?

Our final question is do you stand with us in opposing cuts to higher education and any rise in tuition fees.

Signed:

Students of the University of Bath.

 

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PRESS RELEASE: BATH STUDENTS SIT-IN OVER FEES VOTE

Students at the University of Bath have organised a Sit-In to protest against measures proposed by Thursday’s parliamentary vote on Tuition Fees.

The protest is taking place outside the Vice-Chancellor’s Suite in the 4 West building on the campus of the University of Bath.

It started at 8am and is expected to continue until the vote has been declared.

The Sit-In takes place as the latest development after the National NUS Demonstration in London on 10/11/10; a meeting with Don Foster, MP for Bath, on 03/12/10; and a deputation outside Mr Foster’s office on 06/12/10.

The students wish to make clear three main arguments:

  1. Liberal Democrat MP for Bath Don Foster not only represents his student constituents, but signed an unequivocal pledge that he would vote against any increase in fees.
    Students are deeply distressed that Mr Foster is considering breaking this pledge.
  2. Working hard to influence the vote on Thursday, Bath Students sit in solidarity with students right across the country. It is vital to show that these proposals will be damaging for students, for families and for the entire country.
  3. In addition to the Tuition Fees fiasco, Bath Students are implacably critical of other proposals to terminate the annual block grant given to Universities. This amounts to the marketisation of higher education, which is a detrimental redefinition of higher education in this country.

Commenting, Tom Robinson, one of the organisers of the protest said:

“We’re providing a platform for students to show that we are not just against the rise in tuition fees, but that Bath is prepared to take action.

“This protest does not confine itself to the Vice Chancellor’s suite, it is a concern that is felt across the university, up and down the country and right through the student movement.


Hector Mackie
, another student organiser added

“After this callous betrayal, it is clear that students could not trust the Lib Dems before the General Election, and that students will never be able to trust them again.

Seb Mang, the sit-in co-ordinator concludes:

“I’m proud of Bath Students turning out in such great numbers. This is obviously not the decline and fall of student political participation, but the beginning of a new and powerful re-energisation of the student movement.”

Hadleigh Roberts, a presenter for the current affairs program “Buzz” on the URB campus radio noted:

“The general feeling of this protest is more than an insular concern about student personal debt. Evidently, the impact of this policy is something that will be felt by students, but also has a huge impact on the quality of life of people today, and the life chances of generations in the future.

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