University of West Scotland protest against cost of living crisis
University of West Scotland protest against cost of living crisis

Daniel Lauchlan, University of West Scotland (UWS) Socialist Students

A demonstration against the student cost-of-living crisis at UWS took place on 9 May and was well supported. Members of the Socialist Students society stood alongside the women’s liberation organisation, the LGBTQIA+ society, members of Socialist Party Scotland, and various unions, showing their support for the demonstration.

We focused on the ways in which students are being impacted by the crisis. and advocated for cost-of-living compensation to be distributed to all students, as well as for the university to take over management of third-party student halls and place caps on the absurdly high rents that students are required to pay. The programme we are fighting for is:

  • For emergency cost-of-living grants to be made available for all the students who need them. Scrap all student debt
  • For subsidised university canteen meals for students
  • No early closures of campus spaces due to energy costs. For heated and safely staffed campus spaces available 24/7 to students and staff who need them.
  • Take third-party student halls under the control of our universities, as a step towards introducing democratic rent controls
  • No more cuts to our education! Back striking workers
  • Campaign and fight for the funding our universities need from the central government – fight for free education and make the super-rich pay for it! Fight for socialist change!
  • No to all tuition fees, for free, fully funded education for all including international, rest of the UK, and Erasmus students
  • For properly funded support services, including for mental health and victim support, non-exploitative housing, and clear and democratic reporting procedures for abuse and harassment. A trade union and student-led inquiry into the true extent of sexual harassment and violence on UK campuses, as well as in schools and colleges. Democratic oversight of sexual harassment reporting procedures by joint trade union and student-led committees
  • No cuts in NHS services. For above-inflation pay rises for all NHS staff and the funding of our health service needs
  • For a minimum wage of at least £15 an hour on campus, rising with the cost of living, with no exemptions

The demonstration attracted the attention of a large number of staff and students, and was the first step to build a fightback against the cost-of-living crisis.