Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/539/6216
Student unions can be pushed into action
On Wednesday 18 June, Southampton University Students Union (SUSU) picketed the University of Southampton senate meeting.
This was a continuation of their campaign to stop the university from taking away the SUSU president's vote on the panel that appoints the next vice-chancellor.
Around 20 SUSU activists (including five Socialist Students activists) picketed the meeting. Our placards read: "students voice silenced", similar to those on the last demonstration in May when over 100 students occupied the building where the university court took place.
The meeting ended in success for SUSU as senate decided to recommend a reversal of the decision to revoke the SUSU president's vote. This still has to be carried out by the university council, the highest decision- making body of the university.
It is important for student unions such as SUSU to not only get voting rights on these panels, but to use them to campaign against tuition fees and the increasing marketisation of higher education, among other issues students face.
SUSU must draw the conclusion from this campaign that the only way students' voices can be heard is through involving as much of the membership as possible in protest and action and not by subordinating themselves to the management. The University of Southampton have already begun budgeting for doubling their fees to £6,000 a year, so confident is the university management of the cap being lifted.
Socialist Students and the Campaign to Defeat Fees aim to play a leading role in a campaign against this. In the immediate term, staff at the university face the threat of mass redundancies. Let's hope the students union learns the lessons of action and links up with the lecturers' union UCU and other on-campus unions to defend education for all.
In The Socialist 25 June 2008:
Socialist Party editorial
Unison Conference 2008
Socialist Party campaigns
Socialist Party Marxist analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Origins of the Labour Party
Socialist Party workplace news