Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Students must not meekly accept defeat on fees - a response to Aaron Porter’s letter to Simon Hughes

By Fiona Edwards (Birkbeck Occupier) and Mary Roberston (SOAS Occupier)

Today NUS President Aaron Porter wrote an open letter to Simon Hughes MP who has recently been appointed to the role of ‘Advocate for Access to Education’ in the Tory-led government.

With higher fees of 9k fast on the way you would think that the ‘leader’ of the student movement would be writing to Hughes to remind him of the overwhelming opposition amongst students and the wider public to this disastrous, immoral and counter-productive policy.

You would think that the NUS President would have taken this opportunity to politely remind Mr Hughes that the scale of student anger over the decision to treble fees is not going to fade away. Indeed, you would think Porter would have expressed a little pride in the fantastically inspiring student uprising – on a scale unrivalled in decades.

You might even expect Aaron to point out that students are going to continue to fight against all higher fees tooth and nail and oppose every single cut to our education and public services.

Instead, we have an NUS President that meekly accepts defeat. On the question of fees he recommends that Simon Hughes ensures “fees over £6,000 really are only charged in exceptional circumstances.”

We should be demanding that fees of £6,000 are charged under NO circumstances whatsoever! And why on earth does the NUS President imply that £6000 annual tuition fees are acceptable?

These words are not the words of a fighting NUS. These are the words of an NUS leadership that is incapable of putting up a fight to defend the next generation.

It is alarming that the author of this letter is the leader of an organisation which represents 7 million students. This cannot continue.

A new NUS leadership is required now more than ever. Aaron Porter, you know where the door is – it is time for you to go.

For further details see the facebook page: ‘It is time to Aaron Porter – we need a fighting NUS’

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