Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/206/8503
Tuition fees no way! Fight Threats To Non-Payers
COVENTRY UNIVERSITY has backed down from its threat to carry out mass exclusions of students for non-payment of fees.
Naomi Byron, Save Free Education (SFE)
Despite agreements with the student union and Socialist Councillor Rob Windsor that they would be sympathetic to students having difficulty paying, the university made a press statement last week threatening to exclude 625 students from the university.
200 students at the University of Central England in Birmingham are facing the same threat, which was on the front page of the Coventry Evening Telegraph and on national BBC radio.
Hundreds of students at Coventry University are being blocked from the library, computers and other university facilities because of non-payment of fees. Again, despite agreements to take no action against students till late May, the university suddenly blocked students without warning in early April - just as they were leaving for their Easter break.
Coventry University now appear to have backed down from exclusions under pressure. They are threatening non-payers with not marking exam papers unless fees are paid within seven days of the end of exams. If students pay before September, the university says they will mark them then.
This is a big concession, further than Coventry University have been prepared to go before, but their sanctions are still harming the education of hundreds of students with financial problems.
Socialist Students, backed by Rob Windsor and Dave Nellist, are campaigning to end all sanctions against non-payers.
The reality is fees are becoming unworkable, especially for the universities with higher proportions of students from working class and lower income backgrounds. Dr Mike Goldstein, vice-chancellor of Coventry University, has said that " . . . there is plenty of evidence to suggest that tuition fees do not work."
Pressure must now be put on the government to scrap the fees nightmare.
For more info contact SFE, 020 8558 7947 PO Box 858, London E11 1YG, or go to www.grantsnotfees.org.uk
In The Socialist 18 May 2001: