The University of York is set to witness a number of student campaigns getting underway over the course of the next year.
This term the key campaign led by YUSU Policy and Campaigns Officers Michael Batula and Tom Langrish, is to ensure that students know their rights as workers. They have emphasised the importance of this issue given that an ever increasing number of students are taking on jobs during term-time as well as in the holidays to fund their degrees and reduce their amount of debt they are left with after university.
Langrish said: “Despite many students taking out jobs, very few are aware of their rights as workers and are subsequently being shafted by the more unscrupulous employers out there. It is about making sure that York students are treated on a par with their co-workers.”
Another major campaign that will be launched from October is the fight against the lifting of the cap on tuition fees. 2009 will see a government review on the current fee system and many believe the current £3,000 cap will either be raised or scrapped altogether. With the possibility of fees reaching £10,000 per year students could potentially leave university with a debt of over £30,000. “Although any changes will not impact on current students at York, YUSU has a responsibility to protect its future membership so inaction now is not an option,” Langrish commented.
Some more campus-based campaigns include increasing the opening hours of the library and maintaing pressure on the University to improve accessibility around campus. This is particularly in relation to the replacement of the Goodricke-Vanbrugh and Langwith-Alcuin bridges which are currently out of order. Langrish stated: “We want to make sure that the ‘costing’ is more than just an exercise to stem the current disquiet over the closure and demolition.”
“The second element to this campaign will be to call for improvements to the current alternative routes for example the Central Hall to Physics bridge and the dirt-track running along side Biology and the lake.”
Open sessions of Campaigns Committee will be held in weeks five, eight and nine of this term.