Universities

How Labour should end austerity

Author

Chris Reynolds

Since 2010 austerity has ground down working-class living standards for the benefit of the ultra-rich. Life has been made meaner and more insecure.

Boris Johnson now says he will end austerity. But that is all a matter of previously-budgeted money being “recycled” and called expansion, and random promises to try to win a general election after which he will be free to do his right-wing worst for five years.

Markets, cuts, and education

Author

Maisie Sanders

The Augar review into post-18 education and funding, commissioned by Theresa May last year, was released on 30 May.

As yet the government says only that it will “take very seriously the report’s proposals”. The report presents its aim as a more “accessible” system of higher and further education that provides “value for money” for both students and taxpayers and is more responsive to labour market demands.

Why students are depressed

Author

Stuart Jordan

A recent survey of university students has found alarming rates of anxiety, self harm and substance abuse. Of the 38,000 students surveyed by the Insight Network, 87.7% said they struggle with anxiety, 50.3% have thoughts of self-harm, and 44.7% use alcohol or drugs to deal with their problems. Rates of mental distress are highest among second and third year students.

There are some reasons that we can rule out as being the cause of this mental distress.

NUS leadership suspends elections and bypasses democracy

Reposted from www.studentleftnetwork.com

The National Union of Students is about to be changed beyond recognition behind the backs of its membership. Elections for all officer positions are now suspended until after National Conference, completely overriding the constitution and democratic process.

NUS President Shakira Martin has given unelected student union CEOs and staff unchecked control over the NUS’s response to its £3 million financial deficit, a response which will curtail democracy and effectively end campaigning.

Industrial news in brief

Author

Ann Field and Ollie Moore

Station staff on London Underground’s Bakerloo Line South Group, which includes Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus, Charing Cross, Lambeth North, and Elephant and Castle, have voted by 88% for strikes against short-staffing. Tube union RMT has announced strikes for 26 December and 14 January.

Student left slams democracy shutdown

Author

Maisie Sanders

Student Left Network member and Workers’ Liberty supporter Justine Canady launched her campaign for National Union of Students (NUS) President on Friday 7 December.

She is running as part of the Student Left Network’s campaign of no confidence in current NUS President Shakira Martin. More candidates on the Student Left Network slate will be announced soon.

Martin has given unelected student union CEOs and staff unchecked control over the NUS's response to its financial deficit, a response which will severely curtail democracy and campaigning.

University tags "dangerous" writings of Norman Geras

Author

Martin Thomas

Above: the Catholic Church's Index of Banned Books, 1640

"A friend has assigned one of Norman Geras's essays (Our Morals: The Ethics of Revolution) for his undergraduate course, and as a consequence all the students have to fill in a special form, in accordance with the university's implementation of the Government's 'Prevent' policy.

"The essay is here, for those who want to see just what it is the university and the Government are worried about:

Students call for left unity

Author

Workers' Liberty Students

Around seventy students attended the “We Are the University National Student Left Conference”, hosted by the NCAFC in Sheffield on 16-17 June.

Activists from more than 30 different universities, some representing Labour Clubs and free education groups attended. Many became active through the occupations and other action in support of last term’s UCU strike.
There was a sense of excitement about building on the upsurge of campus organising and using the momentum around it to renew the student movement.

Post-grads as workers?

Author

a UCU activist

We should welcome the opportunities Labour’s mooted National Education Service (NES) presents to transform education.

One area that especially deserves attention is postgraduate and early career research. Graduate teaching assistants, hourly paid tutors, and other precarious education workers would benefit immediately from Labour’s policy commitments on workplace rights, including their commitments to repeal the 2016 Trade Union Act and to ban zero hours contracts.

No to an even more tiered HE system!

Author

a Cambridge UCU activist

In the wake of the new Higher Education review, we are once again hearing suggestions that Oxford and Cambridge should declare themselves independent, thereby allowing them to set their own tuition fees.

A tiered fee system was one of the many market conditions for which the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) sought to lay foundations.

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