Returning to campus — Students need to stand up and fight

by Stanley Harris, UAL Socialist Students

As we progress through the month of September, students and young people across the country will be preparing themselves to return to their respective studies.

For some beginning their studies at university this year, it’s looking like in-person freshers’ events and considerably less restrictions in place regarding the more social aspects of university life are on the cards.

The outlook for many students, however, especially those returning for their 2nd and 3rd years of study, is dogged with anxiety and uncertainty. Where promises of in-person and practical learning on campus are concerned, frankly for many of us returning or finishing our studies this year we have simply heard it all before.

It would be foolish for any of us to think that the negligence and lack of understanding shown by management in many universities during the pandemic last year is simply going to go away. The fact is that due to brutal Tory cuts we are returning to institutions that are as up against it now as they were before.

The effects of staggering cuts of up to 50% in funding to many courses, such as in the arts, that have in the past provided huge opportunities to working-class young people seeking work in creative industries, will doubtless now be felt.

These changes in funding to courses now deemed ‘unnecessary’ by the capitalist class to the economic recovery of the country post-pandemic, will put immense strain on both students and staff.

Last year student campaigns, including rent strikes, which Socialist Students were involved in, resulted in some gains for students.

This year it is as important as it was last year for us all to stand up and fight. No to more false promises. No to cuts and tuition fees.