Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/159/7817
Students occupy to stop expulsions: Fight the fees
MOST UNIVERSITY students can't afford to pay tuition fees - and many are not doing so. But more and more universities are taking severe action against them.
Paul Hunt, Coventry University
Many students are now facing examinations. But that hasn't stopped the authorities at Coventry University sending threatening letters to those who haven't paid their fees. They say that if students don't pay up within two to four weeks, they'll be expelled and their debts turned over to a debt-collecting agency!
This affects hundreds of students. At the height of the exam period the university threatens to block students' access to computers and libraries unless they pay.
Some students will be frightened into paying if they have any money. The rest will disappear off their courses and won't be back next year.
We've done everything possible to fight these attacks through official channels, including meeting the vice-chancellor, who insisted that no-one would be thrown off their courses!
Time is running out for us and we decided that urgent action was needed. We are building for an occupation. This is a last resort but people will be chucked out if we do nothing.
We need support from around the country. If you're not at university or if you are and you've already paid your fees, try and think what it would be like in our situation. We haven't the money to pay and we need everyone to show solidarity.
SEND MESSAGES of support through our national fax number 020 9899 8787. Also send messages of protest at the authorities' actions. These will be passed onto the University.
SAVE FREE Education (SFE) is fighting for students throughout Britain not to pay their tuition fees. We consider this the best way to win back free education for all, to make the fees uncollectable and the system unworkable.
SFE will be supporting the students both this term and next year in Coventry and across Britain. We'll be fighting the fees and fighting for the reintroduction of a living grant.
In The Socialist 26 May 2000: