Newsletter Autumn 2014 n www.thestudentassembly.org.uk n twitter: @thestudentassem n fb: www.facebook.com/thestudentassembly Free education: no cuts, no fees, no debt! the rich, billions of pounds could be released to pay for free education, more resources for the NHS, improving public services, and for tackling climate change. The Student Assembly Against Austerity is determined to fight for this alternative of free education. We need to build a campaign with coordinated action on campuses across Britain. Get active! A usterity isn’t working. Students are facing a cost of living crisis, colossal student debt and enormous cuts to education and all the vital public services we rely upon. The Tories are determined to drive through even more attacks on students and education. We must resist these attacks with all our strength. n Organise for the National Day of Action Against the Autumn Statement on Wednesday 3 December. Join the facebook event here: bit.ly/SAAADec3 n Join our ‘Student Manifesto 2015’ campaign – let’s turn up the heat on politicians ahead of the May 2015 General Election. For details see www.thestudentassembly.org.uk/student-manifesto When the student movement unites and fights back we can win. The Student Assembly Against Austerity proved that earlier this year. Our campaign to stop the government privatising student loans mobilised thousands of students on more than 50 campuses in our national days and weeks of action which succeeded in forcing a government u-turn. Proving once more that campaigning works. Student Assembly Against Austerity National Convention £9,000 tuition fees, the scrapping of the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) and savage cuts to education are all attacks the student movement must unite to reverse. Join us for a day of discussion, debate and action planning on the next steps in building a student movement that takes on austerity. We must fight for an alternative. Last month Germany scrapped tuition fees, underlining the fact that free education is possible and it is simply a question of priorities. According to the government’s own figures education pays for itself – for every £1 invested in higher education the economy expands by £2.60. If the government reduced military spending, increased corporation tax and clamped down on tax avoidance by Saturday 31 January 2015 10am–5.30pm, SOAS in central London Register today: http://bit.ly/SAAAnc15 Speakers include: Piers Telemacque NUS Vice President Society & Citizenship Shelly Asquith President of SUarts Jeremy Corbyn MP Francesca Martinez comedian Natalie Bennett Leader of the Green Party Lindsey German Stop the War Sabby Dhalu Stand Up To Racism Fight for FE – bring back EMA! By Shakira Martin, President of LeSoCo Students’ Union and NUS National Executive S tudents studying within further education have been amongst those hardest hit by education cuts. With major cuts still due to happen within FE, we need to work hard and in solidarity to protect and support the students who choose to study within further education to have successful futures. EMA (Education Maintenance Allowance) for many students was used to eat and travel with and ultimately what supported them in continuing their studies and gaining their qualification. The government’s decision to scrap EMA hit the huge numbers of young people studying in FE colleges that were from deprived, poor backgrounds. It gave thousands the opportunity to reach their potential by providing access to education. Stand up to racism By Aaron Kiely, NUS National Executive A With the General Election coming up it is vital that the student movement calls for a new EMA – that helps students to maintain themselves throughout their studies while in further education. For this reason we must continue to fight and work for the government to properly fund FE, and when I feel like we are not heard and considered let’s use our voices and shout a little louder until change is made. We need to work today for tomorrow. Fund education not war s we approach the 2015 General Election the mainstream political parties are in a race to the bottom to be the hardest on immigration and are using racism to distract people from the real causes of falling living standards – the political consensus on austerity. W On Saturday 21 March the United National Anti-Racism Day 2015, thousands of people will be marching through central London under the banner of ‘Stand Up To Racism’. We need students to be there in force. The financial cost is enormous too. Britain’s military intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade cost more than £30 billion. That’s why in the run up to the this national demonstration, in the first week of February, students across the country will be taking part in a national week of action against racism. We will be organising to say no to Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, attacks on international students and institutional racism. Get involved and play your part in standing up to racism. By Fiona Edwards, Stop the War National Officer e are living in a period of permanent war. The wars on Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya have led to huge death and destruction, with millions of people killed, injured and displaced as a result. The human cost of these wars is enormous. In addition Britain is spending £100 billion renewing Trident and on top of that spends £33 billion per year on the military. For just a quarter of Britain’s annual military spending tuition fees could be abolished and EMA could be brought back. It’s time the British government changed its priorities and funded education instead of war, death and destruction. Students Stand Up To Racism – national week of action Monday 2 – Friday 6 February 2015 Take part in the national week of action by organising an activity on your campus. For more information contact [email protected] Fund youth services – stop the cuts By Piers Telemacque, NUS Vice President Society & Citizenship F or many young people, youth workers are not just youth workers. They are our friends, mentors, role models, social workers, and for some kids, the closest thing they have to someone who listens, empathises and cares about them and their needs. They encourage young people to do well and prosper in education. For many people the youth service provided their first trip outside their hometown. It's where young people can discuss liberation and equality issues, because to be frank the schools are too damn scared to touch them. I know many young people who wouldn’t imagine they could ever be successful. Yet through the skills and opportunities youth services provide they’ve made a success of themselves and are putting back into their communities. The reality is that austerity Britain is failing too many young people. I know for a fact that it's the youth workers that consistently pick up the pieces and End the student housing crisis Shelly Asquith, President of Students’ Union University of the Arts A ccess to education is being stalled not just by fees, but by a vicious housing crisis. Every year students are dropping out or not applying altogether because of the growing rents in university accommodation; the lack of provision in Further Education and exploitation in the private sector. help repair damage. If no one was there to provide that safety net then the long term effects would be devastating. That’s why I’m leading the campaign for statutory youth services that are well funded for all. Lobby your MP to support the Youth Service Early Day Motion here: http://bit.ly/YouthServicesEDM This year, following years of privatisation at UAL, our campaign forced a change in strategy to make halls more affordable. Rents were rising by as much as 60% in year, with few checks on the quality of rooms. Occupations and demonstrations led to our management committing to ending the outsourcing agenda and bring all new halls back under University control: affordable and accountable. Isolated campaigns are not enough though – we need to build a national campaign for housing. Demands should include a return of housing officers with the power to cap rents and prosecute bad landlords, and an end to arbitrary letting agent fees. Institutions should be legally required to offer guarantorships to international students and others in need; and the Government should allow students to access Housing Benefit in the summer months. We need strong housing campaigns on every campus, and an NUS that is not afraid of running an offensive against the greedy landlords and rogue estate agents profiting from our debt. A student movement can beat the housing crisis locking students out and win an education that is free for all - no matter what our background. Register your FREE place here: http://bit.ly/SAAAnc15 Sam Fairbairn, People’s Assembly Against Austerity Secretary: “Austerity has done exactly what is was supposed to; made the richest richer at the expense of the poorest in society. We want to build a loud, active and vibrant student movement, which puts the demands of the student movement on the political map in the weeks leading up to the General Election. From days and weeks of action to creative stunts and peaceful direct action – we want to organise and coordinate the fight back to defend students. We need to create permanent opposition to any government who remains committed to policies of cuts and privatisation. That’s what the People’s Assembly is committed to do, but to create this movement we need everyone to get involved. We Come along to the Student Assembly Against have local groups up and down the country organising Austerity National Convention on Saturday 31 events and activity to demand the alternative and January and help us build a student movement campaign for a fairer, more sustainable future. that cannot be ignored. Join us...” Speakers include: National Day of Action Against the Autumn Statement! Wednesday 3 December, on campuses nationwide G eorge Osborne will be giving the Autumn Statement on 3 December. He will claim that austerity is working – but we know it isn’t. Students are facing a cost of living crisis, colossal student debt and enormous cuts to education and all the vital public services we rely upon. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Join the Student Assembly Against Austerity’s national day of action to demand free education and an end to austerity – no ifs, no buts! More info here: http://bit.ly/SAAADec3 Student Assembly Against Austerity National Convention Saturday 31 January 2015, 10.00am – 5.30pm, SOAS in central London Where next for the student movement? – Campaigning for free education & against austerity into the General Election May 2015. n Jeremy Corbyn MP n Francesca Martinez, comedian n Natalie Bennett, Leader of the Green Party n Shelly Asquith, President of University of the Arts Students’ Union n Sam Fairbairn, People’s Assembly Against Austerity n Piers Telemacque, NUS Vice President Society & Citizenship n Shakira Martin, President of LeSoCo Students’ Union n Lindsey German, Stop the War n Sabby Dhalu, Stand Up to Racism n Aaron Kiely, NUS National Executive n More speakers to be confirmed Set up a Student Assembly Against Austerity on your campus! The Student Assembly Against Austerity is the student wing of the People’s Assembly Against Austerity. We exist to bring together all students that wish to campaign for free education, against tuition fees, a lifetime of debt, cuts to education and the broad austerity offensive which represents the biggest assault on ordinary people for generations. Since we launched, just one year ago in November 2013, we successfully led a campaign to stop the government selling off the student loan book to private companies. We’ve been at the heart of the coalition organising the national demonstration for free education. Already dozens of local Student Assembly groups have been set up on campuses across the country – why not set one up on your campus? Contact us on [email protected] to help and advice in setting up a Student Assembly on your campus.
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