Thousands of students expected to descend on London tomorrow in march against privatisation

Students marching in Westminster last year pic: Matt Dinnery

Thousands of students, including many from Goldsmiths and Queen Mary University, are expected to demonstrate against the privatisation of universities in London tomorrow.

The demonstration, called by the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, comes in response to the government’s recent White Paper on Higher Education, which proposes a dramatic cut in government funding for higher education. The march is also supported by the NUS.

Goldsmiths University staff have already made a stand against the proposals, with nine signing an alternative to the White Paper, “In Defence of Public Higher Education”, published on September 27 this year.

Arts, humanities and social sciences, the core of subjects offered by Goldsmiths, will be overwhelmingly affected. The college is also expected to have all teaching funding cut.

The government claims absent funds will be replaced by increasing fee payments and private investment. But James Haywood, Goldsmiths Students’ Union President, fears higher tuition fees will put off potential students, leading to an overall loss in revenue.

Haywood said: “The Professional and Community Education department are already struggling, there have been cut backs and redundancies. The History and Politics departments will suffer too. The Media and Communications and Art departments are internationally renowned, but no one knows about Goldsmiths’ Politics and History departments. People will go elsewhere.”

The White Paper will be voted on next year, allowing those opposing the proposals to speak out now. Haywood believes: “We’ll be setting the tone and preparing the ground for spring. It would be really bad if the turnout is poor.”

Goldsmiths staff members are expected to join the students in protest, but Haywood fears the overall turnout may fall short of previous demonstrations. Goldsmiths students’ union is calling all to congregate with banners at 10:30 in front of the Richard Hoggart Building on the morning of the march.

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