Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Episode 793: ACCR Occupied!

Pretty much wrote the third poem on the bus journey to cell, so I'm all set for my meeting with Michael Hulse tomorrow afternoon. I'm quite pleased with it for a first draft, as it contains a pair of lines that represent a pun which I think wouldn't be amiss in a Shakespearean play. I know, such a lofty claim! I'm hoping that the pun actually works and it wasn't just all in my head. Incidentally, I was there when the Conference Room in the Arts Centre got occupied by student protesters. While I applaud their desire to take a stand against the cuts, I personally find their list of demands to be somewhat naïve. The post on their WordPress blog states that they 'consider these demands to be fair and reasonable, and would appreciate a quick response'. I would suggest that it is irrelevant how they view their demands, given that the power structure in which they're operating is weighted in favour of the university. You might say that's the problem, but I somehow doubt that a protest will achieve anything significant that couldn't have been reached by a less openly confrontational approach.

I also (mildly) take issue with their signing off as 'Students of the University of Warwick', as if they somehow spoke for a wide section of the student body. The BBC reports more than 70 students as being involved, which is a paltry number in comparison to how many students there are at Warwick. It's worth pointing out that when they occupied the ACCR, our EN301 lecture had just finished and people were leaving. Despite their exhortations, I didn't witness droves of people rushing to stay behind with them. I for one was rather discomfited. As someone who believes that university education is not some sort of right to be claimed willy-nilly (for it is certain that there are people who do not desire to go to university) and believes that fees need to rise, the protesters do not speak for me and never have. As an international student, who indirectly cross-subsidises local students by paying thrice as much in fees to begin with, I also think the burden of the cost of education needs to be distributed more evenly. Basically, why am I indirectly paying for so many of you to get hammered on a regular basis? (The argument that fees elsewhere in Europe are lower is wilfully ignoring the fact that other European countries aren't in fact replicas of Britain, and perhaps, I don't know, their governments just had better long-term planning.) Oh, but I've forgotten. We're trying to keep foreigners out of the UK system, aren't we? How ironic.

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