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From The Socialist newspaper, 20 February 2008

Exeter students fight privatisation

Exeter Socialist Students organised a protest outside the office of the university vice-chancellor, photo Exeter Socialist Students

Exeter Socialist Students organised a protest outside the office of the university vice-chancellor, photo Exeter Socialist Students

EXETER SOCIALIST Students recently organised a protest by 55 students, parents and workers outside the office of university vice-chancellor Steve Smith. He is pushing through the privatisation of campus child care facilities, a blatant cut for the sake of big business profits.

Allan Coote, Exeter Socialist Students

This is the first protest Exeter Socialist Students has organised on its own. 11 copies of The Socialist were sold, many other students showed interest in joining Socialist Students and we were also on the local ITV news and in the local paper.

The privatisation of the Family Centre is not just a one-off, it is part of New Labour's trend of stealing away our public services for profit. Privatisation of these facilities leads to inadequate pay for workers, poor conditions, a worse carer/child ratio, unqualified staff being used etc.

Exeter Socialist Students organised a protest outside the office of the university vice-chancellor, photo Exeter Socialist Students

Exeter Socialist Students organised a protest outside the office of the university vice-chancellor, photo Exeter Socialist Students

Privatisation also does not improve public services. Cambridge University was the only one of the top 20 universities to privatise its childcare facilities, and the only one to fail its Ofsted report, while Exeter campus's childcare has achieved Ofsted's 'outstanding' status!

Unfortunately this is just the latest cut that students and workers at Exeter have faced after the privatisation of halls, sub-contracting of canteens and the closure of "unprofitable" courses like chemistry and music.

Clearly the university bureaucrats will not easily give concessions. The campaign to save the University Family Centre must now be strengthened and gain even more tempo if we are to defeat it. Please send emails of protest to Steve Smith at vice-chancellor@exeter.ac.uk

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