Officer Team join 15,000 to march in London

DSU’s Officer Team joined a national protest against a proposed rise in tuition fees last weekend.

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De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU)’s Officer Team joined a national protest against a proposed rise in tuition fees last weekend.

DP Education Augustus Mbanasor, VP Student Activities Ahtesham Mahmood and Women’s Representative Lauren Thomas linked up with members of the Labour Students Society and other students from De Montfort University (DMU) at the National Union of Students (NUS)’ National Demo in London on Saturday 19 November.

Augustus explained: “This was all about everyone coming together and uniting for education.

“Further Education institutions are facing massive cuts and are being forced to merge or shut down, with some merging with two or more institutions. Within Higher Education, the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) has been introduced and students will be forced into even more debt as tuition fees will now be linked to teaching excellence.

“These are big changes that will change the shape of our education system. It’s important that we are all united and stand in solidarity for all of the NUS membership and campaign on all issues together.”

Augustus also held a placard-making session for those who wanted to lend support to the national campaign.

The group, who headed to London alongside representatives from Leicester College Union and Loughborough Students’ Union, were part of the 15,000 strong crowd of students from across the UK plus teaching staff from the Universities and College Union (UCU).

“Every one of us has a duty of care for every stage of our education journey,” Augustus continued. “I believe that collaborating with Loughborough SU and Leicester College Union only made our presence stronger.

“We travelled together as Leicestershire rather than separate student unions and it just shows how unified we all are.”

The march concluded with a rally at Millbank featuring rousing speeches from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, journalist and author Owen Jones and Chicago-based activist from the Black Lives Matter movement, Darletta Scruggs among others.

Sorana Vieru, NUS’ VP Higher Education – who spoke at DSU’s largest Course Rep Conference just days before the march – said: “I hope students and SUs have felt inspired and motivated by the amount of people who share our vision for a free and liberated higher education and know there are many of us who are ready to take action to protect our education from an onslaught of attacks.

“Together and through our collective strength we can defeat plans that will deface HE as we know it and push for our vision.”

Augustus concluded: “The demo was a phenomenal experience. Seeing so many students from all over the country uniting and marching to save FE and HE was brilliant to see.

“Up to 15,000 people from many student unions, colleges and the UCU came down to march, and with many taking coaches from as early as 4am it just shows how dedicated people were to make the march.”

Students from across DSU's 99-plus societies and beyond joined the Officer Team in London last weekend.