Planning is underway for the upcoming ‘#Demo2012: Educate, Employ, Empower’.
The demonstration, organised by the National Union of Students (NUS) and supported by YUSU, is to be held in London on November 21st.
The demo is being held to protest the changes that the government has made to the education system, such as the cutting of EMA and the rise in tuition fees, and to highlight the levels of youth unemployment.
The demonstration will involve a march through central London and will feature several high profile political speakers.
Bob Hughes, YUSU Welfare Officer, commented: “The planning for the Demo is going very well – tickets are on sale now via the YUSU website for only £5, and we are speaking to students about the reasons we are marching on the Demo, and how it affects them.”
“We think Demo 2012 is important because there have been a great number of changes and challenges to further and higher education in the country recently that affect every stage of being student: from a students’ ability to stay studying at college, think about accessing University, being priced out of University by hidden costs and rising debts to the knock-on effects of the £9,000-a-year fees on postgraduate fees which are due to rise.
“It is vital that we demonstrate that we are not going to stand for it, and that education is a right that we must fight to protect.”
This is a sentiment which is echoed by many students. Caitlin Dyde, a first-year student, told Nouse: “I’m going because I want the government and the politicians in Westminster to listen. The problems facing the youth, in education and employment, are serious and real. I want to see solutions.”
The University has granted an ‘amnesty’ to students who have academic commitments on the day of the protest. Demands include a properly funded tertiary education system, accessible to all, in which all students are properly supported and encouraged – so that anyone with the ability and aspiration to study has the opportunity to do so.
Many feel betrayed by politicians who altered their stance on tuition fees when they took power.
Following the announcement of the demonstration in June, Kallum Taylor, YUSU president, told Nouse that the Union would “lead the way” in the national protest, adding, “it’s the right time, and about time, that we made an active stance on our own accord and agenda.”
“The fact that there’s no surrounding election or parliamentary bill adds more weight to the cause too, as it’s a chance for students to set our own agenda, rather than be a pretty backdrop to a political party, or an expected rant against a particular bill we don’t like. It aims to create thousands of more articles, pub-corner conversations, televised debates, dinner-table discussions culminating from an increased awareness of the key issues.
“YUSU have heavily subsidised the demonstration, from extra funds we brought in via a deal with 659 taxis – so we’ve not eaten into pre-existing finance. With the university granting students an amesty to attend the demo; it’s important that we removed money as being too much of a reason not to go. £5 is a really, really good deal.
“We’ve got the York Samba band coming down to London with us too, so we’ll be the guys people want to be with along the route!”
YUSU says that students who attend will be “demonstrating against falling funding for Higher Education and spiralling fees, to demand more for the degrees that we’re paying for”.
Taylor has previously said that the increase in fees risks “deterring able-minded people away from further and higher education,” or making their time during it “a damn hard struggle.”
He added, that the issues mattered both nationally and locally, claiming that “the scary rise in rent” and “the horrifying state of some of our halls” show how changes to Higher Education are having an effect in York.
The NUS announced plans for ‘#DEMO2012’ in June.