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ICU Join NUS for Fees March

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
Oct 22 2006 00:36

ICU will join the NUS anti-fees march next week.

Click Here for the Full Article

1. Seb   
Oct 23 2006 13:20

Has our policy on fees changed in the last three years?

When I was working on it, we always recognised there was a crisis in higher education funding. Given that the ICU proposal for solving the crisis without top-up fees was explicitly against the 50% target which is driving the funding crisis, and the NUS not only endorses the 50% target but actively supports it (or so it appeared from the NUS presidents letter in the Times last week), should we be joining their campaign?

Technical subjects cost more to teach than humanities, and the HEFCE funding formula does not remotely recognise this. Look around the country and UG science coursese are being axed, even at presigious universities.

Can we honestly comlpain bitterly about College marginalising UG's and trying to turn IC into a pure research organisation on the one hand, but then knee-jerk oppose fees to actually pay for the cost of education without offering a viable alternative?

It's not exactly in the interests of our members if UG courses at IC get axed. If we are going to try and exert political pressure on the government, we bloody well better make sure we have an alternative funding proposal than the status quo.

2. Sid   
Oct 23 2006 13:24

Am I to take from this that the way NUS tackles student issues is by going on a jolly old march once in a while - then why do we need to join the NUS?

Why don't we just let SWSS do all the marching for us.

ICU and all the Pro-NUS bods need to evaluate very strictly the need for joining NUS - has it got anything to do with political ambition or student representation?

Oct 23 2006 13:49

Seb - a proposed paper by Fluffy Harris is coming to council tonight.

This also resolves "To revoke all previous Union policy on HE funding."

Our current HE funding policy lapses soon anyway.

4. Seb   
Oct 23 2006 15:01

Muppetry of the highest order.

We can't sit around demanding free education if we haven't got a way of funding it.

The policy only lapses if it is not reviewed. Sweeping it away without good cause is foolish as it allows for us to work with other organisations anyway.

However, we shouldn't ally ourselves with an organisation that supports the 50% target which is at the root of all the problems in higher education.

Creating political pressure for the status quo when the status quo not only doesn't work for students, but also doesn't work for our institution and which will lead to a reduction in the quality of education here and possibly the end of courses is bad for our members as well as being lazy.

5. James   
Oct 23 2006 15:41

I 100% agree with Seb - it always drives me mad how we (rightly) campaign against top-up fees, but don't talk about alternative solutions to the funding problem, or just rant on about how students can't afford fees when you only actually pay them once you are earning a decent salary.

Let's have a constructive debate, not just throw our toys out of the pram.

I am also very alarmed to see a motion to cancel which, in less than 2 pages and almost as a side note, wants "To revoke all previous Union policy on HE funding." No reference is made to what this policy is, and I would urge council members to consider very carefully what they are throwing out and what they are replacing it with.

6. Seb   
Oct 23 2006 16:30

Well, I'm not going to attend the meeting as I'm off campus.

The full details of our policy is not available on the net anymore, but a report from the tuition fees working group suggested something along the lines of this:

"Scrapping all tuition fees (up-front and retrospective)

Abandoning the government's much-vaunted 50% participation target in Higher Education.

Solving the funding crisis by reducing the number of student places at universities.

Scraping OfFA (Office for Fair Access) - the government's proposed "access regulator".

Expansion of vocational training."

A significant amount of time and effort and union money was put into formulating this policy, and if you go through the archives it's probably there in the minutes.

If you are going to abandon this, it ought to be for a good reason and with an alternative constructive policy in place.

7. What?   
Oct 23 2006 18:42

"To continue campaigning on the long term goal of free access to higher education for all."

For ALL? No caveats regarding ability? Access to higher education for all regardless of background- yes. Access to igher education for all regardless of- say- illiteracy? Hmm.

8. DS   
Oct 24 2006 10:05

Actually, the policies are still on the net, but you have to know where, since the site is not linked to anymore. It seemed to have gotten swept under the carpet in the website redevelopment. And though there is a lot of talk about democracy, openness and accountability in the union, our structures and policies are well hidden, especially for the uninitiated. The URL is

Oh, and the paper was withdrawn by Ben at Council.

9. Seb   
Oct 24 2006 11:45


Er, no it isn't. There may be an error on the website. Compare higher Education Fudning 1 to Higher Education Funding 2, they are both identical.

HE2 may be a renewal of HE1.

The two Higher Education policies listed refer only to the working group, and then tasking the working group to conduct the campaign.

We came back to Council with a detailed proposals, including the alternative, viable higher education funding system we were going to propose instead of fees, and this was voted on.

I particularly remember that because I was the one who spoke for it, and our definition of vocational training got significant flack from the Medic president (IIRC).

The detailed policy is referred to in an article on Live (ICU fees policy adopted by Torries, or something like that).

That policy is not included here, and you can't find the orrigional paper or minutes from 2002/2003 when it was presented.

Oct 24 2006 11:51

This article mentions it:

And the working group report can also be found online if you dig.

11. Seb   
Oct 24 2006 13:15


Tuition fees 2 in policy then IS incorrect, it should in fact be this:

Can't find the report though. Ashley, could you tell me where it is?

12. Seb   
Oct 24 2006 13:25

Also, checking the minutes of the meeting, amendments made at the meeting have not been recorded in policy, though that policy has of course now lapsed (3 years isn't it?)

14. Seb   
Oct 24 2006 13:54

I was thinking of the material presented to the EGM and the council afterwards, or perhaps the response to the Govt. White Paper.

Certainly worth reading if we are going to campaign on fees. We covered just about every single model of higher education funding. Should have kept a copy myself :-/

15. Seb   
Oct 24 2006 13:56

Oh, see your link now. It didn't stand out in light blue on grey on my monitor. Must be going blind in my old age.

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