Student leaders go into battle on fees

July 9, 1999

Leaders of the National Union of Students have voted to campaign more rigorously against tuition fees in the next academic year, with a national demonstration and lobby of Parliament.

The decision, by the NUS national executive committee, follows complaints from students that their union did too little last year to fight changes to university funding.

The NUS held a day of action, consisting of rallies and marches organised locally by student unions, rather than mobilising students for a national event.

Under rules agreed at the annual conference in April, members will be balloted on whether to support a national demonstration and lobby in the autumn term and the executive has advised a "yes" vote.

An NUS spokesman described it as "a stepping-up of the campaign against student hardship".

It will include a survey of hidden course costs "to make sure vice-chancellors are not trying to stump up more cash from students".

The second priority campaign agreed by the executive will focus on student rights and will include calling for an audit of complaints and appeals procedure, anonymous marking and 100 per cent participation by academics in the Institute of Learning and Teaching.

NUS president Andrew Pakes said: "A new spirit of participation and democracy should unite the student movement as we come together to argue for a yes vote on our proposed national demonstration."

Kate Buckell, press and publicity officer for the left-wing Campaign for Free Education, which organised its own demonstration last year, said: "We think this is long overdue and we are very pleased they have done it.

"We will be doing everything we can to make that demonstation as big and successful as pos-sible," Ms Buckell added.

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