By James Baines
The NUS is organising a mass walk out in protest against Government proposals for privatisation and rising tuition fees which they believe will have a ‘devastating’ effect.
The NUS national walk out, which is also part of the ongoing campaign against tuition fees, is on March 14 and the Kingston University Student Union is trying to get students to help spread the word with a graffiti workshop.
Lucy Williams, communications officer for Kingston University Student Union, said: “At the risk of sounding like Tesco, every little helps. One small event like ours alone will not change the future of education, but by raising awareness and supporting both our students and students nationwide in the fight against the debt regime.
“We are part of a united front letting the Government know we won’t take devastating decisions lying down.”
KU students can get involved by designing placards and joining in with professional artists from Graffiti Life Company, who have previously worked with the likes of Oxfam and Greenpeace, in creating a protest mural at Knights Park Campus in the front parking lot from 12-2pm.
The NUS walk out is part of a broader campaign called the ‘Week of Action’, which hopes to get the attention of local media and to raise the issue with MPs.
Behind closed doors
The NUS believes that a lot of controversial changes to education will be done behind closed doors.
A spokesperson from the NUS said: “Many MPs will not have been following the higher education debate as closely as students have.
“Therefore together we need to educate our MPs about the issues so that they can question the Prime Minister on our behalf about the backdoor changes, and have the debate out in the open.”
The NUS’s current campaign has the backing of leaders from the University and College Union, which represents many Kingston lecturers, and which will also be striking on March 28 over proposed changes to teacher’s pension schemes.
Andrew Higginbottom, the chair of the Kingston branch of the UCU, criticised Kingston MP and Energies Minister, Ed Davey.
Criticism from KU UCU
He said: “Unfortunately the Kingston MP has decided to put his own position as Cabinet Minister over and above his pledge to Kingston students not to increase tuition fees.
“What he needs to feel is the strength of public feeling for the matter.
“So I think any form of information spreading to the general public is of value.”
In last year’s strikes many lessons were disrupted and classes cancelled.
Francesca Manning, 23, a member of the Socialist Worker Party and third year politics and international relations student believes learning will not be affected and that the NUS and UCU should keep protesting.
She said: “Students can ask their lecturers to reschedule their classes, and so their learning should not be affected by the walk out.
“The Tories want to sell universities to private companies that will put profit before students, cut jobs and drive down wages for staff. We need to show a united front against these attacks.”