Thursday, 25 November 2010
North East students march against cuts and fees
'As part of the national day of action against education cuts, around 1300 local school, college and university students and lecturers assembled at Grey's Monument at midday and then proceeded to turn the centre of Newcastle into an anti-education-cuts marching ground.
The giant assembly of school and college students completely stopped the traffic flow on Grainger street as they waited for 300 university students to join them.
“Nick Clegg, shame on you… shame on you for turning blue!” was one of the many chants.
None of the protestors were in any doubt as to why they were here; “The fees are going up too much” stated Adesh from The Dame Oliver school in Hexham, her friend Laura added “we can't afford to pay for them”
The ConDem government's planned £4.3bn cuts to the higher-and-further education budget would see the introduction of £9000+ tuition fees, the shutting down of vulnerable courses and departments and prevent many low income students from being able to afford A-Level courses through cuts to EMA (Education Maintenance Allowance).
Salvo, part of a large student contingent from Gateshead College described the planned education cuts as “ridiculous” and said that he wanted too see “no education cuts at all”.
Many students were keen to point out that the education cuts wouldn't have to happen at all if the Afghanistan war was stopped, taxes collected properly, corporation tax raised to the G8 average and Trident's replacement cancelled.
Then, to chants of “No ifs, No buts, No education cuts!”, they moved off, swamping the cities main shopping street, Northumberland Street, on their way to a rally at the entrance of Newcastle University- with members of the local UCU branches and local media in tow.
Hundreds of marchers ended up participating in the Newcastle Free Education Networks, 'teach in', a series of lectures and workshops held in the university, all of which were designed to inspire and develop the anti-education-cuts campaign.
Whilst this was occuring, hundreds of other students chose to march back into town and around one of the city's indoor shopping centres.
60 students are now in occupation at Newcastle University, stating that “We occupy in solidarity with all other universities across the country, condemning cuts to Higher Education, Education Maintenance Allowance and against a rise in tuition fees.”
The full statement, including their demands to university management, can be found on the Newcastle University Occupation page. Please send messages of support to them.'