Fighters, not militants

June 9, 1995

I am shocked by your description of students who prefer a decent grant to poverty as "militant" (THES, June 2). After the National Union of Students' executive steered through a ridiculous motion against "free" education as a signal to Labour leadership, students around the country were shocked enough to mandate their representatives to vote this down.

I am a Labour Party member, but also a believer in equality. We need to extend the opportunity of higher education to more people, as an investment in the future, and not revert to an elitist past. The removal of "free" education excludes many mature students, who have already paid taxes towards education, as well as hampering those from underprivileged backgrounds, and discouraging those hoping to enter low-paid caring professions. The only ones to benefit from a change would be the children of the middle class who choose careers such as the law or accounting.

I, and all those students who had their views democratically represented at Derby, will find this prospect appalling. Anyone who cares about the country, industry, and access to learning should now build on the NUS victory and fight for a decent grant.

T. J. ALEXANDER

University of Bradford

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