A 'right' or wrong

September 8, 2000

Sarah Fitzpatrick argued that because not everyone is guaranteed a place at university, regardless of ability, there is no longer a "right". By this bizarre logic, because a doctor does not operate on all people regardless of whether they are ill or healthy should we sacrifice the belief in the "right" to free healthcare?

The fact is that there are thousands of working-class youngsters with the latent ability to go to university, but they forfeit their "right" either through lack of parental support, failures of the education system or simply because they cannot afford to go.

She perversely remarks that it is "in the interests of fairness" to scrap the cap on tuition fees, which is already damaging access.

Fitzpatrick finally reels out that old chestnut that the money would be better spent on pensioners, hospitals or schools than on higher education and students - they are not mutually exclusive.

Neil Foster Union of Students University of Sheffield

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