Cardiff student protest demands: ‘refund our fees!’

photo Cardiff Socialist Students

photo Cardiff Socialist Students   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Elin Wilding, Cardiff Socialist Party

Students in lockdown Cardiff protested on Sunday 4 October to demand the refunding of student fees for this year, and the abolition of tuition fees entirely. Around 70 students attended in spite of the Welsh weather.

The mood was angry and has been for the last week. The demonstration was called by a student and backed by Socialist Students.

Students have been lured back to campus with promises of freshers’ events and face-to-face teaching – which has been an unrealistic notion since the pandemic began – only to find that they are now at the forefront of the Tory blame game for spreading Covid-19.

Instead, they will be stuck inside to stare at a screen for £9,250 a year, when they could have stayed at home and saved thousands of pounds on rent.

Speakers included students, Cardiff Trades Union Council, and Socialist Students member Campbell Wallace: “We have all experienced, or are currently experiencing, the damaging effects of paying £9,250 a year for tuition… They tell us that students meeting in large groups is the problem.

“Yet weeks ago we had Tory ministers telling us to ‘eat out to help out.’ We see Rishi Sunak posing for photos with a bevvy in his hand at the pub, making us think this is OK. Coronavirus rates go up, yet for some reason, students get the blame.”

Every student that spoke expressed the same frustration and anger at the situation universities and the government have put them in.

Once the speeches were over, nearly everyone at the protest began queueing up to speak to the Socialist Party. They wanted to sign our petition to scrap tuition fees, as well as expressing interest in an upcoming meeting organised by Socialist Students this week.