YUSU will “lead the way” in national student protest

The new YUSU President Kallum Taylor, has said that YUSU will “lead the way” at a national demonstration in November against changes to higher education

In November 2010 students from York marched in London against the rise in tuition fees - Photo credit: Sam Newsome

In November 2010 students from York marched in London against the rise in tuition fees - Photo credit: Sam Newsome

The new University of York Students’ Union President (YUSU), Kallum Taylor, has said that YUSU will “lead the way” at a national demonstration in November against changes to higher education, asking students to “come along, get involved, and join our national stand for education.”

The National Union of Students (NUS) announced plans for a demonstration last week at their National Conference.

YUSU were criticised last November for showing a lack of support for a similar protest in November last year.

In a passionate message to Nouse, Taylor, who replaced Tim Ellis as YUSU President on Monday, revealed exclusively that he will back the protest “to the hilt.”

He added: “It’s the right time, and about time, that we made an active stance on our own accord and agenda.”

YUSU decided to not financially subsidise coaches travelling to the London march last year after it was “agreed that putting large amounts of money and support into the demonstration would not be a valuable use of Union resources.”

Asked whether YUSU will give financial support to this year’s demonstration, Taylor said: “Nothing has yet been discussed. We’ll have a better idea of this come early next term.”

Students beginning their degrees at York in October will be the first to pay £9000 fees.

Taylor said that the trebling of fees risks “deterring able-minded people away from further and higher education,” or making their time during it “a damn hard struggle.”

He said that those not concerned by the “national picture” should look at what is happening here at York, where changes such as “the scary rise in rent” and “the horrifying state of some of our halls” are, he claimed, related to recent changes to higher education.

The NUS announced plans for a demonstration at their National Conference on the 27th June.

Liam Burns, NUS President, said that education was being “systematically attacked across the board by the coalition,” and that with youth unemployment at a record high, students have “a lot to be angry about.”

He called on students to march in London on 21st November to start “setting the agenda.”


  1. 4 Jul ’12 at 7:29 am

    You Only Live Once (YOLO)

    YUSU backing a student protest? Sure, I’ll believe it when I see it. YUSU is without a doubt the most apathetic student union in the history of apathetic student unions. I don’t even know whether they represent students at the University or the senior management. Senior management says “jump”, YUSU says “how high?”

    In terms of the “the horrifying state of some of our halls” – this has nothing to do with recent changes to higher education. The student halls have been pretty bad for a while now. Goodricke is probably the best accommodation on campus but even Goodricke has problems. The accommodation is definitely the worst part of York, both off campus and on campus. Halifax is known as the ghetto of campus – everyone knows it.

    I doubt many students will attend the protest – York is not LSE or Manchester University. York uni is in the middle of nowhere, pretty detatched from anywhere important. It is possible to never see anything but campus for a whole term if you wanted to. Rent is high because the Uni staff are buying iPads and mismanaging student money.

    YUSU have a lot to answer for – attending one student protest won’t make up for the previous substandard treatment of students. In any case the government don’t give a nags head about students – it’s Brian Cantor and his team of ‘yes men’ that students should be protesting to.

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  2. The first paragraph, above, is correct as a description of YUSU since 2008.

    But MAYBE Taylor will start to get things back on track???

    (If he survives the summer brainwashing by Hes Hall authority figures.)

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  3. You both don’t know what you’re talking about. YUSU has been extremely effective at achieving things over the last few years. And apathetic?? You don’t have a clue….go and have a look at some other unions. YUSU has one of the highest election turnouts in the country at 37%. They had one of the highest proportion of students attend the national demo in 2010, sending hundreds of students all the way down to London to take part and I know Taylor will be looking to get even more to this one. Just because they don’t march around with banners all the time, doesn’t mean YUSU is not effective.

    In terms of Senior Management and YUSU jumping…..would you like to back up your claims?

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  4. YOLO, stop talking rubbish.

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  5. 6 Jul ’12 at 9:29 am

    You Only Live Once (YOLO)

    Many students do not even know what YUSU does or understand the full service that they are paying for.

    If it takes the influx of students paying £9000 fees for the University to buck up its ideas – this is very worrying. It shows that the fees are not justified and the University now has to attempt to increase the service from the depths of mediocrity in order to try to justify the fees. It’s like saying: here is a plastic cup for 10p, lets glue sequins on the cup and charge £5 for the same plastic cup with sequins on it. Obviously in terms of the tuition, student experience – there will be no differences in the quality of service provided.

    For example: A second year student in 2012/13 who still pays £3920 and a first year student in 2012/13who pays £9000 will receive the exact same service. Perhaps the surplus can be used to buy more iPads? Maybe senior management could use the extra money to purchase a special Jubilee edition blinged out iPad with gold encrusted ducks on the cow leather case?

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  6. 6 Jul ’12 at 9:40 am

    You Only Live Once (YOLO)

    @ Optimist

    “But MAYBE Taylor will start to get things back on track??? ”

    Are you putting all your hopes and faith into one man? A bit naive, no? I doubt there will be any changes. Senior management operate as a dictatorship – if you didn’t realise this point, where have you been? I can only imagine that YUSU will “lead the way” in a national student protest because senior management told them to…

    I have no confidence in YUSU to bring about any changes because they are apathetic schmucks. They are only good at giving out condoms on freshers week in front of my parents and organising alcohol fueled events where I need to consume copious amounts of alcohol in order to enjoy…

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  7. 6 Jul ’12 at 11:16 am

    Student Shareholder 101

    “YUSU has one of the highest election turnouts in the country at 37%.”

    That says it all then. If you think that 37% turnout is high, no wonder the policies and University is so authoritarian.

    37% turnout = 63% of students who are not engaged with YUSU. Why? Because it provides these students with no incentive for engagement and no benefit whatsoever.

    So YUSU are creating policies and providing a service for merely 37% of students?

    Technically 37% student turnout = 63% senior management turnout. So students have a 37% share in YUSU and senior management have a 67% share. No wonder why senior management receive greater dividends (iPads etc).

    When a corporation earns a profit or surplus, that money can be put to two uses: it can either be re-invested in the business (called retained earnings), or it can be distributed to shareholders. There are two ways to distribute cash to shareholders: share repurchases or dividends. Clearly even when money is redistributed, senior management rather than students dominate to the detriment of students.

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  8. I fail to see how the trebling of fees will make university education “a damn hard struggle”. It’s not as if you have to pay for them upfront (unlike postgraduate students, where no loan system exists).

    Taylor correctly identifies rent as a major concern. In fact, I don’t understand why there have been no protests about the cost of renting. If you pay £300/month in rent, then over 3 years that comes to more than the tuition fees, and has to be paid upfront. But of course, most people pay rent or a mortgage not just for 3 years but for the majority of their life. Housing costs are a *far* bigger issue than tuition fees, and affect far more people.

    Why no protests against landlords who own a huge number of properties and can essentially fix the market price, and prevent young people getting onto the housing ladder? Or against NIMBYs who complain and block new housing development? Perhaps the NUS could coordinate something with trade unions etc to focus on this issue.

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  9. Many students do complain about accommodation – but the accommodation office are unreceptive to complaints. Some members of the University struggle to respond to complaints, either because they are not empowered to respond or because they simply are not equipped or competent to respond. The accommodation at York is predominately poor. It is ridiculously bad and the cost is disproportionate.

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  10. YOLO.

    you’re an idiot – YUSU don’t get iPads for a start.

    Also why shouldn’t second years paying what they lay get the same service as first years, it’s supposed to be an egalitarian environment. Same as how home and internAtional students have always had the same service…

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  11. Never heard Halifax mentioned as the ‘ghetto’ of campus. As for good accommodation – most of James, Alcuin, new Vanrugh, Goodricke and new Langwith. They’re all quite nice, by which I mean nicer than a lot of other universities I’ve visited with friends (certain parts of Edinburgh for example).

    York is definitely not LSE or Manchester and has never plugged itself as such. LSE is a great institution but is a collection of buildings in London that is 60% foreign students mainly focused on the social sciences, and has huge student dissatisfaction for quality of teaching. Manchester has 50,000 students. Of course York is not going to be similar to them, but if you’re trying to denigrate it, it most certainly (cliche alert!) punches above its weight. And as for seeing nothing but campus, you could say that about Nottingham, or Warwick as well. You are absolving responsibility for students themselves to make the most of their university experience and making York to have these singular problems when in fact many many universities are suffering from the same problems.

    As for the role of YUSU – I can only speak from my experience of their help in sports, but they’ve done a fantastic job with a very very tight budget and I don’t think I could have personally asked for anymore.

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  12. Also just to add, there’s been a massive cut in the teaching budget. Universities aren’t rolling out in cash – the fees are imposed to cover the budgets and the government is passing the buck onto universities who will face the ire which should be directed at Willetts.

    In addition, even if YUSU were handing out condoms in front of your parents (which I doubt) what would you prefer. You take 3,000 18 year olds and put them in a new social situation, there’s going to be sex – handing out contraceptives seems eminently sensible to stop STDs and unwanted pregnancies. Would you rather it was kept hush-hush or was that a sneering nature as to how students enjoy themselves. And as a non-drinker I thought the non-alcohol events were rather good. Sounds like the problems are not with the institution but more likely, yourself….

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  13. 9 Jul ’12 at 10:50 pm

    Who's fault it is?

    Surely all of these complaints of YUSU are actually complaints about the universities treatment of students? Yes, YUSU should be representing students but in the end, it’s the universities fault when services are not up to standard, not YUSU’s. Yes, YUSU could be doing a lot more and some of what they do is quite tokenistic but blaming YUSU for faults with the university is placing the blame in the wrong place. YUSU also do a vast amount that gets completely ignored. Without YUSU there would be no cheap club nights, no societies, no sports clubs, or at least not in the efficient system there is.

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  14. What a disgrace of a President, I don’t remember him campaigning for this, in fact I remember him distinctlyy going out of his way to say his campaign was about York and local issues, student satisfaction and return for investment – not furthering his political career.

    What a pity he reneged so early on.

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  15. I agree with Matt Sharp (which is nice as we don’t always agree on matters like this). Rent is a serious issue in York. National and local planning regs screw students and poorer residents over by artificially raising prices. YUSU should definitely petition York council to relax restrictions on student housing planning permission and planning law in general. The NUS should fight for a more competitive and deregulated property market.

    Oh wait, they wouldn’t do that because it contains the word ‘market’…

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  16. You can’t campaign on an event which, at the time, hasn’t even been talked about by anyone in the country. That would need a time machine.

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