The president of the Association of University Teachers warned delegates at the AUT's annual council meeting yesterday against seeking "flawless ideals" that could never be achieved.
Joanna de Groot said there was no political credibility in advocating a student support policy which would add Pounds 5.4 billion to public spending in the first year alone. "It is a choice about being actual players, that is, effective, respected participants rather than high-minded spectators," she said.
The anti-cuts campaign had put the crisis in higher education on to the national agenda according to Dr de Groot, who asked council members to demonstrate their seriousness through the political choices they made.
"Our political effectiveness depends on our will to create out of diversity and differences a coherent policy and strategy to which we all commit ourselves and which we can hope to deliver in the end rather than an unending quest for some flawless ideal," she said.