Socialist Students contingent on 19 November NUS demo photo James Ivens

Socialist Students contingent on 19 November NUS demo photo James Ivens   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Iain Dalton, Socialist Students Yorkshire organiser

The first National Union of Students (NUS) national student demonstration taking place in four years, a new left leadership of NUS, and the backing of lecturers’ union UCU sound like key ingredients for a successful revitalisation of the student movement.

Yet local student unions failed to properly organise and mobilise for the demonstration on 19 November.

In Yorkshire, among the best were the Leeds Universities that booked coaches and did a few stunts, posters and leaflets to advertise the demo. Yet unfortunately, rather than start this from freshers week to fix the date and slogans of the demo in students’ minds, this was all thrown together in the last few weeks.

At the other end of the scale is Huddersfield, where the student union had the names of 30 people interested in coming – but then put on a meeting that they failed to publicise, with the result of just one person showing up, which was used as an excuse to cancel putting on any transport.

Student union officers at York used the same excuse, pulling out of running a coach with less than a fortnight’s notice. They had promised to fund transport, and had even had an offer from the local UCU branch to collaborate on this.

This all demonstrates the vital need for active, campaigning Socialist Students groups at every university and college.