Police force say march through Kingston is “unfeasible” and refuse to endorse it, despite backing from Students and KUSU.

Day X: KUSU will rally this week after police stop plans for a town centre march


Kingston police force has condemned plans for a march through the centre of Kingston, voted for by KUSU.


The university’s student union voted in favour of the march to protest against education cuts, but the police did not give their support. 


The union told River Online: “KUSU have been in consultation with the police and a demonstration through the town centre is unfeasible due to the amount of stewarding levels required.”


Consequently, the union has reversed its decision and will stage a rally instead.


President of the SU, TJ Esubiyi, said: “I think it’s exceptionally important that students’ voices are heard and I’m keen on student involvement. I fully support any wish for peaceful protest against the cuts on Higher Education.”


Representatives from the NUS, the lecturers’ union (the UCU), and the Education Activist Network will give speeches at the rally. The Vice Chancellor, Sir Peter Scott, who was on holiday at the time of the national protest, will also be attending.


The event will be held between 1-3pm on 24 November, the day on which Parliament are expected to vote on the proposal to cut Higher Education funding. Numerous other universities across the country are also planning various forms of further protest.


The proposal to stage a march was initially put forward in a motion at last week’s Annual General Meeting (AGM), where it was voted in favour of by the majority of those attending.


The motion could have been passed without requiring approval from the union’s Executive Committee, had there been at least a hundred staff and students present. But because just 46 people attended, all motions must be approved by the union’s Executive Committee.


The turnout was a disappointment to TJ, who said: “In truth, it wasn’t impressive. We had a better attendance last year. I had hoped that having the AGM the day after the demonstration would have students enthused and all fired up, but that was not the case.”  


Alistair Farrow, a Kingston student, proposed the motion. He said: “I think that having a rally instead of a march is the only feasible option given the short time frame. Ideally a march would be preferable but, given that there would have to be 50 stewards (as opposed to the 20 for a static protest), it is unrealistic from an organisational point of view.”


Details about the rally and any forcoming union meetings will be published on the Student Union’s website shortly.

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