Socialist Students out on campus
Apprehension about Covid – anger at fees, costs and exploitation
The first street meeting of Socialist Students at the University of Birmingham was great. Students came together to discuss, plan and organise to fight the mountain of issues facing them and young workers – extortionate tuition fees and lifelong debt; contact time and use of facilities stripped to the bone; overpriced and overcrowded accommodation; low pay and insecure work.
Students concluded that they have no choice but to get organised and fight back. Weâ€™re launching an â€˜open the booksâ€™ campaign to see where the money from the uni is really being spent – huge vice-chancellor salaries and vanity projects.
Students and staff should democratically decide where resources are allocated. We think it should be on free education, subsidised housing and mental health services.
Socialist Students is out campaigning at Southampton and Solent universities. Many students signed up and were eager to help out straightaway.
Students described the apprehension of arriving in halls knowing how outbreaks have spread in other cities. They also described anger at the exploitative landlords and the cost of student accommodation run by Southampton University, which is in the top ten most expensive in the UK.
Nine students came to our meet-and-greet session. We spoke about launching campaigns on student housing and mental health. Everyone pointed to the need to change the material conditions of students and not look for individual solutions.
Students took away posters to put up in their halls of residence and bought copies of Socialist Studentsâ€™ magazine Megaphone to discuss with other students. Despite the limitations of no freshersâ€™ fair, we have had one of the strongest initial meetings to date which bodes well for an autumn of struggle.
We were out talking to students, on 26 September, about the socialist plan to make sure that students and young people donâ€™t pay for the Covid crisis.
Teaching has largely moved online and campus social life is shut down, but students are still expected to pay Â£9,250 fees and thousands more in rent. There is no extra financial support to make up for the reduction in Saturday jobs or other costs.
We had masks, gloves, hand sanitiser and wipes plus lots and lots of Socialist Student leaflets.
Lots of the people who signed up to Socialist Students, and put their name to our petition to scrap tuition fees and fund education, also thanked us for being out campaigning. Many were pleased to see young people talking about socialism during these trying Covid times.
We spoke to students about Covid, abolishing tuition fees, homes for all, Black Lives Matter, climate change, and building a Socialist Students group at UCL.
- Visit socialiststudents.org.uk/join or call 020 8988 8761 or text your name and school, college or uni to 07749 379 010