Hundreds from York to join Wednesday's NUS demo
On Wednesday 21st of November hundreds of students from York are predicted to join a National Union of Students (NUS) demonstration in London against the government’s education policies.
York’s Student Union (YUSU) has pledged its full support to the march and its headline aims ‘Educate, Employ, Empower’, claiming that falling education funding and a lack of jobs for graduates amounts to government abandonment of students.
The coaches down to London have also been organised by YUSU who are charging a price of £5 per attendee, with students meeting at 5am at the Student Centre (James College). The ticket buys a pack which explains the legal rights of marchers and gives free entry to York’s club Tokyo for the following night.
YUSU has also secured a 'study amnesty' from Professor John Robinson, Pro Vice Chancellor for Teaching, learning and information, which means those attending will not get into trouble for skipping any academic commitments.
The concession of an amnesty is part of the union's wider campaign to increase turnout from the university, which includes the free Tokyo entry mentioned above.
Kallum Taylor, YUSU President, has discussed York's contribution on a NUS blog. He suggested:
“Changing any status quo involves winning over people who, once, you wouldn’t have even dreamed winning over. Here in York our members are, on the whole, slightly conservative, in relative terms" but that "assault on the life chances, opportunities and aspirations of young people in education is something that will reach all of us".
The NUS has also attempted to improve coverage through social media. This includes a well-used #demo2012 twitter hashtag, an iPhone app with helpful information for the day, and the promotion of 'Thunderclap' - a signup service designed to simultaneously update hundreds of devices across Twitter and Facebook with the following message:
“Education should open doors but the government is slamming them shut. Make education a priority #demo2012"
The demonstration itself is to assemble 11am at Temple Place with the route ending at Kennington Park, where a one hour rally begins from 2pm. Some students have voiced criticism of what they see as an ending point which lacks political significance.
Along the way protestors are set to pass the Department of Work and Pensions, the home of MP's offices in Portcullis House as well as Parliament itself. This area saw the controversial 2010 demo, where students were 'kettled'. Millbank, home to the central office of the Conservative party and the site of vandalism by protestors in past years, is also close by.
The Yorker is set to attend the march with a liveblog and tweets from @YorkerNews1.