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Warwick Says No To Willetts

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Warwick students and academics have united in declaring they have “no confidence” in universities’ minister David Willetts.

The university is the fourth, alongside Oxford, Cambridge and Goldsmiths, to declare no confidence in the minister’s policies for Higher Education.

This week, a group of Warwick academics and students circulated an online petition and formed a Facebook group publicising the Warwick University Campaign For Higher Education. The petition, which currently has over 1,000 signatures, calls for “the government to pause its publication of the White Paper to allow for proper consultation and public debate on its proposed reforms, which have the potential to inflict great and irreversible damage to Higher Education in the UK.”

Policies cited include the recent hike in tuition fees to £9000 for most English universities, the announced 80% cut to the HEFCE Teaching Grant, and the culture of consumerism which the group sees as fundamentally at odds with academia.

In recent months, the Warwick campus has witnessed student marches, sit-ins, and debates protesting against the coalition government’s proposals for university education. This week’s petition, and the decision to target a specific government minister in Willetts, show a change of tack by the protesters; Warwick’s political left has, perhaps, resigned itself to the fact that, despite their best efforts, the government is ultimately unlikely to change direction and that a more targeted campaign may prove more effective.  

The precise wording of the petition, and the exact number of signatures, can be found at: http://www.petitiononline.com/WUCHE/petition.html

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