Published on January 29, 2014 | by William Thomas


UAL students in Birmingham education march

Students during the Birmingham protest

Students from all over the UK joined the protest [Bethe Dabbs]

Students from UAL and around the UK converged on a protest rally at the University of Birmingham on Wednesday in an attempt to persuade the government to improve the higher education system.

The campaign group Defend Education Birmingham described the protest as “the biggest upsurge within the student movement since 2010,” with students and staff united in their causes.

Before the demonstration, a series of meetings were held to define the key issues, which resulted in more than 20 national and local demands being agreed.

A ULU member suggested three major points: “Democracy on campus, justice on campus, free education.”

Living grants

Other issues were also raised such as completely removing the need for any senior management. Living grants and the student loan book sell-off were also high priorities.

Marc Dataro, an FdA Art student at LCC, called for the reintroduction of the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) for further education students such as himself: “I’m forced to live at home as I have no government funding and I have material costs of £20 per week just for printing.”

UAL Volunteering and Activities officer, Rosie Black was positive about many of the ideas that were put forward at the Birmingham rally. She said: “We want to put forward a set of demands that we can take with us as a national body. What has been said is great as it encompasses some of the demands that we try to set out at UAL.”

Group of students protest in Birmingham

The demonstration marked the final day of Activism Week. [Bethe Dabbs]

Coinciding with the Birmingham demonstration, SUARTS has been organising awareness campaigns, events and protests. There have also been walkouts from higher education staff campaigning to stop cuts and unfair wages. SUARTS officers and UAL students were also present at Wednesday’s demonstration.

The demonstration was the highlight and final day of action in SUARTS’ fortnight devoted to activism.


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