OUSU is to create a campaign committed to tackling prejudice against working class students. A motion passed at the weekly meeting of OUSU Council on Wednesday mandated the creation a Student Union ‘Class Act’ Campaign.
The motion, submitted by Jaycie Carter and Eden Bailey, passed by an overwhelming majority, promising to set up a committee “open to all OUSU’s student members who self-identify as working class, low income, state comprehensive school educated, or a first-generation student.”
Jaycie Carter told Cherwell: “Currently, the needs of students represented by the Class Act campaign—working class, low income, state comprehensive school educated and first generation students—are neither adequately discussed nor addressed by the University or by our colleges.
“Once the access work finishes and we arrive at Oxford, the support too often ends. Our campaign aims to bring about much-needed change by representing these students, campaigning on their issues and providing them with support networks and community.”
The campaign’s directives include campaigning exclusively for the issues of those who “not only face barriers to reaching Oxford, but also face specific issues once they are here, which are… largely unaddressed.”
The motion mentioned the recent Educating All report, a survey of students from top Russell Group universities, in which “over 70 per cent of students who identified as working class agreed with the statement ‘your class was a barrier when integrating at university’.”
Eden Bailey, the OUSU VP for Academic Affairs who seconded the motion, said she was “thrilled” at the move.
She told Cherwell: “There is important work to be done across UK universities, particularly those in the Russell Group, in ensuring that all students feel truly welcome and are fully supported at university, regardless of their background.
“We will be providing representation that Class Act students currently don’t have to campaign on issues affecting them, creating networks that previously haven’t existed for students and alumni to meet and support each other, and provide relevant resources to support some of the specific welfare and academic needs of these students.”
The establishment of the campaign comes in light of St. Hilda’s appointing its first Class Liberation officer last November