Friday, 25 April 2008

Protest Against Fees in Bangor

Bangor Socialist Students held a protest on the 23rd April encouraging the Student Union to support the campaign to defeat fees, which follows several weeks of gathering support for the cause.

Following the rejection of the Student Union to support the motion submitted by Socialist Students, calling on it to support the campaign to defeat fees, the group has been campaigning to change the attitude of the union. Members of the student society have held stalls and canvassed student accommodation to collect a petition that will force the union to hold a referendum regarding their position on campaigning against tuition fees. A total of 250 signatures were needed, but over 300 were collected. People who signed were also encouraged to attend a protest at the union to demonstrate their attitudes towards tuition fees. The campaigning contributed to the sale of over twenty copies of The Socialist in two weeks.

Unfortunately the turnout at the protest was low in comparison to the amount of signatures collected, with a total of ten students attending over the half hour the protest was held, possibly due to it coinciding with dissertation deadlines. Despite this, the protest went well with press coverage from local newspapers, and the addition of a few more signatures, as well as several people passing by expressing an interest in joining Socialist Students. The protest consisted of chants, such as ‘no to war and occupation, spend the money on education’; and a stall providing further information on the campaign and the activities of Socialist Students. At the end of the protest, everybody went to hand in the petition, and a response is expected soon. The petition means that every student at Bangor should get the opportunity to vote in a referendum regarding whether or not the union should support the campaign to defeat fees.

The campaign has revealed the attitude of a large amount of students, who are against tuition fees and has shown that there needs to be more opportunity for students to voice their opinions to an increasingly ignorant government. It is hoped that the Students Union will recognise this and support the campaign to defeat fees.

James Nock

Students also agreed the following message of support, which was signed and shown to workers taking industrial action yesterday

Statement of Support for Striking Teachers and Civil Servants

We here today declare our solidarity with teachers and civil servants taking industrial action against the governments below inflation pay offers. The current government is responsible for the biggest gap between the rich and the poor in this country, and moves to increase tuition fees and hold back the incomes of public sector workers will increase this gap. Student debt will only be compounded even further if pay is held back even further. Therefore this protest wishes to send greetings and its support to teachers and civil servants in Bangor and the surrounding area, taking strike action on Thursday 24th April 2008 and hope for a speedy victory in your struggle.

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