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.
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.
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.
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 http://www.union.ic.ac.uk/resource/governance/policy.html
Oh, and the paper was withdrawn by Ben at Council.