A motion has been tabled for today’s OUSU Council which
would allow the student union to tacitly ignore the result of the
recent higher education referendum and to continue with their
current policy. The referendum was clearly won by the ‘reduce student
numbers’ option, and OUSU President Helena Puig Larrauri and
President-Elect John Blake have both agreed to change OUSU policy
on higher education to reflect this. Yet today’s motion would “permit OUSU officials to
interpret the phrase ‘decrease student numbers’
according to their own understanding of it”. The motion goes
even further by calling for OUSU’s policy to be clarified as
“to campaign for the abolition of tuition fees and the full
restoration of maintenance grants, and for the higher education
sector to be funded out of progressive general taxation”
with no mention of campaigning to reduce the total number of
student numbers. Ed Griffiths and Vladimir Gligorov, who framed the motion,
claim that “our policy to ‘decrease student
numbers’ does not in itself answer all the questions
surrounding higher education funding,” and so they must
“clarify certain details which it leaves ambiguous”. Mr
Griffiths is a self-styled Communist and it is not thought that
he carries the support of the majortiy of OUSU. However, Alexander Clark of the Educational Reform Group (ERG)
told Cherwell that “OUSU are very supportive of the
referendum results and both OUSU and the ERG are working together
to tie down the details of the policy. This motion is not a
serious threat to the integrity of the referendum result and
should be dismissed as such.” Mr Clark dismissed Mr
Griffiths and Mr Gligorov as “extremists and not the sort of
people you want in any organisation let alone a student
union.”ARCHIVE: 0th week TT 2004