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The Death Of Free Education?

category national | miscellaneous | news report author Saturday July 20, 2002 02:44author by james redmond - socialist alternative UCD (personal capacity)author email antrophe at hotmail dot com Report this post to the editors

Sneaking fees in through the back door.

The World Trade Organisation's General Agreement On Trades and Services, where government is forced to create an 'equal playing field' through the removal of 'barriers to trade' in the services industries has long been the subject of the anti-capitalist lefts' rhetoric and polemic. Barriers cited by the WTO include "the existence of government monopolies and high subsidisation of local institutions”. It is in this context of attacks on public services that the Irish Government has raised the student registration fees by 70% from 396 euros to 670 euros.

8292_1.JPG

As part of his first significant moves as the new Education Minister, Noel Dempsey has also increased the standard maintenance grant by a pathetic 5%, representing an increase to 2,510 euro a year. A rise which will barely cover the projected rate of inflation for 2002, and go no where near tackling the tackling the huge discrepancy between the real cost of attending college, judged by the Irish Times today to be in excess of '6000 Euro for Arts, law and business courses, 8000 euro for science courses and 9000 for engineering courses' (1) and the amount received by students on the grant. It is perhaps the most cynical aspect of Dempsey’s move that he has attempted to disguise it in a facade of social inclusion. Increasing and extending the 'top up grant' for more disadvantaged students, on the same day that he has almost doubled the student registration fee. The reintroduction of tuition fees in Britain upon the election of New Labour was also dressed up in the rhetoric of wealth distribution and social inclusion.

In a press release responding to the Ministers Announcement, President of the spineless bureaucracy and talking shop that is the Union Of Students of Ireland, Colm Jordon described how 'It is little surprise that the Department chose to bury this news on a low key Friday morning in July when students are on a seasonal break rather than at a time when they can vent their fury at this disingenuous move.' (2) In a way it is perhaps fortunate for many of those holding office in Student Unions across the country, that the government has decided to make its move at such an opportune moment, when students bodies are broken up. President of UCD Students Union Aonghas Hourihane, best known for using the national media to air his support for the Garda violence and state repression which plagued the May 6th Reclaim the Streets Party on Dame Street, expressed disappointment at the rise in registration fees, but welcomed the rise in the grant. It was the UCD SU, which put forward the motion at USI National Congress two years ago which saw the cancellation of the effective campaign of demonstrations, occupations and days of action, which saw the government concede an additional top up grant and a five percent, increase in 2001. UCD SU is effectively in boycott of USI, after a co-ordinated attempt to sabotage the national union by abolishing many of the key full time positions within it, by Fianna fail controlled unions was set back by a number of months. USI have said they will make a 'comprehensive response to these announcements’, which will probably result in nothing more than another press release.

In the framework of GATS, free fees for undergraduates and the grant are defined as discriminatory payments and are being slowly phased out as governments across the world implement GATS. Jordon is correct to point out in his press release that Dempsey’s move represents an attempt to 'introduce fees by the back door'. Students in Spain have already fallen victim to the extensive intrusion of the private sector into education, with the right wing government’s introduction of the LOU and they have responded with a series of waves of protest. European student groups, networking over the Internet and outside the official structures of their unions if needs be, have been engaged in a 'Hot Summer Of Protest' (5) against attacks on education. In one example of the anger among continental students, on June 18 following a wave of occupations and decentralised protests 8,000 students stormed the regional parliament of the German state of North-Rhein-Westphalia. Check out http://education.portal.dk3.com/ and http://www.education-is-not-for-sale.org for more comprehensive details of what has been happening across Europe. Student blocs have been organised at the past two EU Summits, as opposition rises to the EU Commissions implementation of the Bologna Declaration of 1998, which seeks to pave the way to a uniform system of higher education, all in the vein of privatisation.

Education in Ireland too is facing into a period of major restructuring and change. Despite claims made by successive governments about improving access to third level education, not a lot as changed since the abolition of college fees in 1995. The refusal to significantly extend the ridiculously low income threshold which determines if a student receives the grant means that only 37 per cent of university students and 47 per cent of students (to use Minister Dempsey’s figures) in ITs receive financial support from the government. The composition of those attending third level education hasn't seen any significant change despite the creation of free education' at third level. In fact the past decade has only seen a 0.02% rise in the number of disadvantaged students reaching third level. It is a harsh reality, that those with most to gain from campaigning and fighting for a decent accessible education system are not those already in third level education but the hundreds of thousands of secondary students and young workers who will never reach third level because of the financial impediments maintained by successive governments. The attitude that dominates many of those holding office in student unions is that concern should not stretch beyond those already in college. Any attempt to broaden the horizon of student unions is met with declarations that they are strictly apolitical bodies, with a leadership more concerned with maintaining services on campus, than tackling the educational disadvantage that ensures those same campuses remain the sole reserve of the lucky few. Those in the positions of most influence in Unions are only to willing to admit their complete ignorance of issues like GATS and privatisation and when forced to act will dismiss and whitewash concern as the paranoia of the Looney left.

The Skilbeck report issued by the Higher Educational Authority a number of months ago gives ominous signals for the direction of Irish Education, recommending among many things the abolition of the grant, re-introduction of tuition fees, increased links with industry and increased use of money from the private sector to fund education. A similar move by the government in 72-73 when the attendance fees were raised from £87 to £105 led to a weeklong occupation of Earlsfort Terrace. A rise in capitation fees in the early 90s also led to a 100 strong-attempted occupation of the UCD Administration building. The Skilbeck report didn't cause many in leading student union positions to bat an eyelid. The main organised criticism in UCD came from the SIPTU Education Branch there and not from the student union. A poll on http://www.usi.ie perhaps confirms many things, despite the development of the anti-capitalist movement here; student activism is not as strong as it once was. The majority of students today are engaged in a very different kind of struggle, and that is the struggle for economic survival.

(1)http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/front/2002/0719/1057692384HM1EDUCATION.html
(2) http://www.usi.ie/news/fees18july.htm
(3) http://www.geocities.com/swapersie/lettertopres
(4) http://int-protest-action.tripod.com/id55.htm

See http://www.education-is-not-for-sale.org for organsised student resistance across borderrs against attacks on education

See http://int-protest-action.tripod.com/id11.htm for an archive of articles relating to education and privatisation

Related Link: http://www.socialistalternative.cjb.net
author by james redmond - socialist alternative (personal capacity)publication date Sat Jul 20, 2002 02:50author email antrophe at hotmail dot comauthor phone 0857198001Report this post to the editors

Some of us in UCD and beyond, want to get moving on some attempt to resist this as opposed to just sitting back and watching it happening. Can people please get in touch as soon as possible, and we can get some meeting organised for as early as possible next week to get something going.

Related Link: http://www.socialistalternative.cjb.net
author by Noel Hogan USI - Union of Students in Irelandpublication date Sat Jul 20, 2002 13:00author email dep_president at usi dot ieReport this post to the editors

As Deputy President of USI what I can say to you at this moment in time is that we are most definately going to fight this. I was at a training event we organised for Students unions around the country last night and everyone we talked to wanted to see strong action on this.

On the notion of USI being a spineless bureaucracy, I can see where you're coming from (especially after last year), but all I can say is that last year is over. Every year brings a new team and this year's team is looking forward to action. The one positive thing about last year is that it highlighted that the softly-softly approach doesn't work. The call for action is getting a much more positive response this year, largely due to the results of last year's quiet approach.

So in concluding, what I'll say about this is get ready for some serious action and just give this year's crew a chance to prove ourselves. We are going to fight this to the finish.

author by Finghinpublication date Mon Jul 22, 2002 18:04Report this post to the editors

Below is an extract form the Socialist Youth UCD website about the increase in fees.


The Fianna Fáil minister of education, Noel Dempsey, today announced a 70% increase in university registration fees. This announcement is a disgrace and a two fingers to students and will hit those on lower incomes the hardest. Many surveys have shown financial reasons as the primary reason for drop outs and for non attendence at 3rd level.

This recent increase in registration fees amounts to fees through the back door and hits students harder this year due lack of summer jobs due to the economic downturn. Socialist Youth campaign for truly free third level education for all. All registration and examination fees should be abolished immediatly and the 'free fees' scheme extended to all students, whether they be mature or repeating students.

The minister also announced a miniscule increase of 5% in the means tested student grant. This increase is yet another insult to students, being a student is a full-time occupation, and in order that we can achieve our potential and enjoy college life we should not be forced to work part-time to support ourselves.Socialist Youth support the USI demand for a student grant of €100 a week, as a step towards a living grant of €190 a week plus rent allowance.

This attack on the living standards of students was announced by a minister that is a member of the same party as UCD student president Aonghus Hourihane. Finghín Kelly of SY commented "Hourihane and the rest of the SU establishment will not seriously oppose these increases. It highlights the need to reclaim our student union from the right wing careerists and transform our union into a fighting democratic union that is independent of the establishment parties".

Related Link: http://www.syucd.cjb.net
author by james redmond - socialist alternative (personal capacity)publication date Tue Jul 23, 2002 09:36author email antrophe at hotmail dot comReport this post to the editors

Ok, so a room is now booked in Conways, for 3pm next saturday, that is saturday 27th. Conways is on Parnell St, at the top of O Connell street, turning left at the ambassador. All are welcome. The plan is to have some discussion and see what we can do from there to fight the hike.

Related Link: http://www.socialistalternative.cjb.net
author by felix - SPACECRAFTpublication date Wed Jul 24, 2002 02:28author email felixbadanimal at hotmail dot comauthor address you don't need to know where i live!author phone 0863000134Report this post to the editors

i'm in work until 5pm (i have to work to be able to afford 1. the high rent in dublin and 2. the registration fees for university!) which is geat because it means i am so busy saving for the stupid registration fee that i don't have time to object to it! But, in all seriousness, i think the whole thing is outrageous, and i would like to be involved in any sort of march or protest. could someone email me after the meeting to let me know what the outcome is? If there is going to be an action of some sort, i would like to be involved.

failing that, i will keep coming to indymedia, getting information etc. and then simply refuse to pay the reg. fee. if enough of us refused they'd have to listen? what do you think? please email me, thanks, felix

author by conor - ucd socialist alternativepublication date Wed Jul 24, 2002 10:18author email c_mc_gowan at hotmail dot comReport this post to the editors

Related Link: http://www.socialistalternative.cjb.net
author by conor - ucd socialist alternativepublication date Wed Jul 24, 2002 10:23author email c_mc_gowan at hotmail dot comReport this post to the editors

can we keep this one for students , and free from the usi , which everyone knows dosrnt give a toss.if all groups from different universities get together (even the swss and sy) we can do something-o , without those government controlled smirky smarmeys giving us their "oooh it would be soo nice if the government gave us money".

my point is that to achieve anything , we MUST leave the usi out of this and have a LEADERLESS protest-o

Related Link: http://www.socialistalternative.cjb.net
author by Finghin - Socialist Youth UCDpublication date Wed Jul 24, 2002 15:29author email finghink at hotmail dot comauthor phone 0863550529Report this post to the editors

I think you are very wrong to isolate yourself from the students unions. The union bureacracies are full of careerists of the establishment parties,however that is no reason to abandon the SUs. SIPTU for example have a rightwing leadership does that mean that workers en masse leave SIPTU? The USI has a membership of 120,000 students,the problem with the USI is in its leadership. The job of ordinary students now is to reclaim their unions from the careerist rump and fight for a democratic militant fighting students union. This is one of the reasons why we (SY in UCD) will be opposing the upcoming USI disaffiliation referendum in UCD.

I strongly urge that the SUs of the Dublin colleges be invited to the meeting as well as USI. It will give us a chance to confront them, if they don't show it would only go to show how much they care about ordinary students.

For those unable to attend I will be posting a report on the meeting on www.syucd.cjb.net It would probably be Monday by the time it goes up though.

Related Link: http://www.syucd.cjb.net
author by Daithipublication date Wed Jul 24, 2002 17:30author email macsithd at tcd dot ieReport this post to the editors

It's pretty foolish to decide without even hearing what they have to say, that USI have no part to play in the fees campaign.

Unless you have a political or idealogical opposition to the idea of a national students union with fairly elected officers (and fair enough if you do, I just disagree with you), USI should at least be given a chance before they are totally dismissed.

There are serious problems in USI, firstly in terms of how college SU officers ignore their members' interests and choose candidates that they have made deals with or are friendly towards. This means that officers often aren't fairly elected. Secondly, there is often very little accountablity for actions and protests.

But this can be changed. USI can be changed if you really want to. If you go into any of the universities and colleges in Dublin and around the country, you will find that right-wingers in the various SUs are opposed to USI. They don't like the idea of students having common interests and goals. They don't like targeted actions and they certainly don't like co-operating with whichever college they look down on.

Playing into the hands of these people by avoiding USI (with a new cohort of officers who we should give a fair hearing to) is hardly a way to get real change in education.

These fees are affecting real people, students who can't afford to pay them. It's not some far-off conflict or issue that we can afford to be philosophical about. I believe that anyone prepared to fight the fee increase and the corporate takeover of our universities should be listened to and worked with. If USI say that they're not prepared to fight the fees, then fine - activists on the left will need to go it alone. But WE HAVEN'T HEARD WHAT THEIR PLANS ARE! so give them a chance.

Thanks,
Daithi Mac Sithigh
(former exec member TCDSU)

author by wry observer - The Skibereen Eaglepublication date Wed Jul 24, 2002 19:50author address Burn UCD to the groundReport this post to the editors

scabbing on the national student union. Right on, comrades. Finish yer sushi and down that capucchino, Fiarchnain, ra ra rahh during the days of the raj etc etc

No wonder these guys were expelled from the Socialist Party- see link below for where they'll end up!

Tiocfaidh ar la

Related Link: http://www.labour.ie
author by conor mc gowan - ucd socialist alternative IN A PERSONAL CAPACITY and under the influence of manys a cappuchinopublication date Wed Jul 24, 2002 23:07author email c_mc_gowan at hotmail dot comauthor address blackrock -yes tut tut bladdy blahReport this post to the editors

okay , first to say i didn’t say we all leave the usi for good , but i was making the point that little will be achieved with them on board "this should be a leaderless PROTEST" ie , dont "break the union" (being a left thingy i should proberbally use smash) note- protest , not general student body forever .

fingin ,what use would bringing along aonghus and the likes to the meeting serve?? flog him a paper ?? spit the usual rhetoric into his head.

if this protest is to be had, let the students have it. not just the political ones (them being 2%).if the usi dont represent students ,why let them fuck it up?-and they will *-because , as daithi admits they’re carreerists.i.e.they dont give a fuck.

daithi , i did hear what they had to say-the usual rubbish "we cant believe our good minister did this ,espically after the feroicous sucess that last years well advertised grants campaign was....." i read what the "deputy pres" said , heard the radio , it all sounded too familiar.i also have a slight shitness about unions (espically their structure)ideologically

we could reclaim the usi,but that would mean winning elections , something the "left" isnt too good at.if the leadership is right wing ,then it follows that so to are students,much as this pains me to say as a ucd student.anyhow ,
for this year its too late.
they’ll produce anonter guinness /champion sports sponsored rag giving inaine film reviews and 50 reasons why drugs are bad-that’s what the usi is used to.

i understand that in a glorious world under our great leader leon , all would be different,all students would stand up , vote left , the usi would be a force to be reckoned with ……etc ,and I am FOR it.jesus I understand the power in numbers thing at this stage

and wry observer(I presume youre male),it was the swp , not the sp that we were expelled from (see website) if you say we were expelled id personally disagree.i would be honoured to be considered not stupid enough for the millies.hows the armed revolution against the forces of the british crown going down there in skibereen?? havent been attacked by colored soldiers yet , or had some foreigner burst into the local parish church?-our day will come indeed when brainwashed drones like yourself and your stalinist party stop fucking up the left in ireland-o

anyhow.98% of students arent politicized (hence the voice aint shifting what it used)they are affected by the grant.the heads of (in my case)ucdsu/tcdsu/usi dont care.a few letters to the times, an old march to the dail/dept ofed will happen,well all go home and complain to liveline - hurrah

or,we have STUDENT led demos (the sort to be decided on sat/whenever opportunity arises) where STUDENTS dont feel they have to have a degree in marx theory to go ,with anarchic sit downs colorful street protest , traffic blockages etc, and no white trucks with megaphones.

action that will take public attention , embarrass the minister , get the message across to the students that youre welcome to come along ,and the general population that’s something is dreadfully wrong here

leave usi reform till later- its too rotten to eat right now


*if previous performance is a guide

Related Link: http://www.socialistalternative.cjb.net
author by Finghin - Socialist Youth UCDpublication date Thu Jul 25, 2002 15:44Report this post to the editors

I think you'll find that Socialist Alternative were not expelled from the Sociallist Party. In fact they were not expelled from any organisation, there members left the SWP in May

Related Link: http://www.syucd.cjb.net
author by Brian Cahillpublication date Thu Jul 25, 2002 15:52Report this post to the editors

Why the completely gratuitous insult, Conor?

author by Finghin - Socialist Youth UCDpublication date Thu Jul 25, 2002 16:00author email info at syucd dot cjb dot netReport this post to the editors

Why are you opposed to unions ideologically?? surely you recognise that the trade unions are the most basic entities of the working class.
You also seem to think that reclaiming the union is a waste of time or an impossible task. It is not a waste of time and it can be done. Look at the developments in the CPSU and NIPSA in Ireland. These unions have a left majority. In Britain the process of the unions being reclaimed has begun and there are the beginnings of a move to break the link between the unions and the Blairite Labour party. The USI has a membership of 120,000 students, you cant ignore that. The task for revolutionaries is to intervene into the unions and working class movements and convince them of our ideas and programme, not to isolate ourselves.
Students in ireland are largely apathetic ath the moment, but I think that you cant write off students so quickly. The upcoming recession will see an attack on the education system, which we are already seeing. It will also have the effect of limiting part time jobs. This will have an effect on student consciouness. Student will begin to fight back and ask the questions of their union leaderships.
I have a problem with you saying we can achieve revolutionary change without leadership. Look at all the failed revolutions and movements, France 1968, Germany in 1920s, China 1925-1927.... most have failed due to lack of a leading revolutionary party or incompetent leadership.
As for saying the the 'millies' (ie Socialist Party) are 'stupid', I'll ignore that. I could say that many of the SWP ideas such as 'state capitalism' are ridiculous. But I wont be dragged into a rant, I just invite you to read some of our material and find out more about us before you denounce us completly.

Related Link: http://www.syucd.cjb.net
author by Angry Activist - -publication date Thu Jul 25, 2002 16:25Report this post to the editors

If you want colourfull sit down join the fucking circus, I'm serious about my politics, I want to change society not just have a bit of fun while I'm a student. I'm fucking sick of infantile ultra leftist anarchist types giving genuine socialism a bad name. Cono go and fuck off and leave it to the people that take it seriously

author by Clare Butler - Gluaiseacht, NUIG ecosocpublication date Thu Jul 25, 2002 17:46author email clare at frink dot nuigalway dot ieReport this post to the editors

Right lads, these are kind of the minutes of last night's meeting held in NUIG to discuss the increase in fees.
These are merely my version of what was talked about. Feel free to copy and send these minutes on to as many students, SU's and USI to let them know that something is going on. Also feel free to bring them to any meetings you be attending to let other groups know what we have been thinking about. Here’s for a bit of good team work !! Good luck with your meeting in Dublin and be sure to report back what comes up in that meeting. Please also feel free to mail me about any points written below. There is discussion on this at present on
SIN: http://www.sin.nuigalway.ie/cgi-bin/boards/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=7&t=001553&p=3
Indymedia: http://www.indymedia.ie/cgi-bin/newswire.cgi?id=8292
And no doubt loads of other places too.
*******************************************
On the evening of Wednesday, 24 July a meeting took place in NUIG to consider the recent increase in college registration fees and what could be done about it. A number of students were present and a very interesting discussion took place. Firstly, exactly what the increase meant and the history of “free fees” was briefly explained.
Although there were a range of opinions and viewpoints apparent at the meeting the general consensus was that
-something should be done, and the sooner the better
-we should try to work together with all student groups in Ireland
-it will be a long campaign, working on very many levels
-it will be difficult to draw together a large amount of students before September
-those in the student’s union exec will be going to a USI meeting later this week or early next week and will bring our suggestions to that gathering. It is hoped that some of our suggestions will form part of the USI campaign.
-the next meeting will be called after the USI meeting next week
-GMIT will probably join with us in the Galway side of this campaign
-some present agreed that they would try to sort out the beginnings of a website and try to register the domain name which was discussed.
-we need to raise awareness among all students and also perhaps work towards a rally day.
-we might ask opposition parties to agree that they will abolish registration fees when they come to power
-within the education system the government have chosen to make savings on third level, as they believe these are the least likely to kick up a fuss!
-the money “saved” by increasing the fees is not a very large amount to the government, in relation to their overall spending. This amount could be saved by devising a more balanced, less-wasteful budget.
-it was also suggested that we work under the framework of a general themed group “670”, all student groups working on this campaign could come under this umbrella – both those which are USI affiliated and those which are not. This issue is bigger than any union – it will affect every single third level institution in the country. However this point was not fully discussed and no consensus was reached.
Many other things were discussed including strategy and the weaknesses within the government and the particular individuals which we could aim to target. There were many well thought out points and good suggestions.
Range of suggestions from meeting July 24, 2002.
Raising Awareness:
· Talking to people in queues for accommodation listings
· Talking to people during registration
· Taking photos of as many people as possible holding chalk board with student ID and their personal comment on increase in fees
· Get support from International Students
· Go around student housing estates
· Talk with opposing TD’s and parties
· Postcards
· Petition
· Get all clubs and socs involved
· Register all students to vote
· Good slogans
· Possible get some college staff on our side?!
Possible Actions:
· Strike
· March
· Concert
· Rally day
· Website
· Sleep over (??)
· Approach nightclubs/get a song!!
Remove following three if posting somewhere public please:

********************************************
Clare Butler

author by conorpublication date Thu Jul 25, 2002 22:36Report this post to the editors

sorry if i owwieed any socialist party people.i diddnt mean it ,but i said i WOULD be honoured-thats would.im more ralph wiggum than joe higgins.

i understand that the unions should be taken over , i SAID that too.the present STRUCTURE i said is wrong-not the notion of unions . one look at mick o rielly should show that

fingin,it is interesting say "France 1968, Germany in 1920s, China 1925-1927.... most have failed due to lack of a leading revolutionary party or incompetent leadership." ? ? ? ? or mabey the inverse.-or i might be wrong i hear the chairman and vi were mad raving anarco crusties,thats why it all went two legs good.i think right kind of should be inserted into "leading" there

also to the self styled "angry activist" whats wrong with proposing a slightly different (even more angry if you want) form of protest to wheeling up pat the bakers van and shouting things the crowd agrees with into a megaphone.it was only a suggestion

and i really diddnt mean any offence to anyone ,carreerists (including left ones) aside

the galway approach is good.

author by Noel Hogan - USIpublication date Fri Jul 26, 2002 15:12author email dep_president at usi dot ieReport this post to the editors

I'll see you all at the meeting on Saturday. If anyone has anything they wish to talk to me about, feel free to email me at the above address.

author by mepublication date Mon Jul 29, 2002 14:48Report this post to the editors

Here are the minutes. If there are any disagreements or whatever don't
hesitiate to email me or call me (085 7238161).
Paul (the Millie!)


Minutes of Meeting of College Students on Sat. 27th July in Conway’s.

Attendance:

Finghín Kelly
Noel Hogan (Deputy President of USI)
Brendan Meskill
Rebecca Moynihan
Daithi Mac Seilbh
Ross Higgins (Deputy President of UCD SU)
Donal Lyons
James Redmond
Connor McGowan
Mark Grehan
Colm Jordan (President of USI)
Paul Dillon
Dan Finn
Paul Murphy

Purpose of Meeting: To discuss building opposition to the increase in
college registration fees.

Agreed:

1. To organise a united campaign of as many students as possible around the
central demand of “No fees”, with a secondary demand of “A living grant” –
there should be no financial barrier to attending third level education.

2. The campaign should be a proper campaign in that it should run over a
period of time with a number of actions, escalating at all times. The key
point of the campaign is clearly when the students are back in college,
before that events should be designed simply to maximise publicity and
attempt to raise student consciousness about the issue.

3. A campaign of mass non-payment, whilst ideal, is unrealistic and
unachievable given the current mood of students, and would simply result in
the isolation and victimisation of a number of students.

4. Despite some initial disagreements from Colm Jordan and Noel Hogan, it
was agreed to set up a broad campaigning group called “Campaign for Free
Education”, open to all who agree with the key demands, to act as an
umbrella group for the campaign. This body would be open to USI, affiliated
and non-affiliated local Students’ Unions, and other organizations,
including political ones. To this end, it was agreed that James Redmond
would collect email addresses of all present and set up a Yahoo Group called
the “Campaign for Free Education”, to enable us to discuss it further and
send an email to the British CFE to announce our presence and ask for more
information about their organisation. We should also look into setting up a
website. Structures of the organisation will be discussed later.

5. To approach other students around the country to make this a true
national campaign. Agreed to contact any sister political societies in
colleges around the country, and to get in touch with the Galway students
who met on July 24th about the same issue.

6. To attend the USI protest against the increase in the fees taking place
at 1.45 p.m. on the Boardwalk beside the Liffey on Tues. 30th July.

7. To meet again in a fortnight, on Sat. 10th August at 3pm upstairs in
Conway’s and to try to get some of the Galway students along.

8. Paul Murphy (Chair) to write up the minutes and distribute them via the
internet.


Ideas for the campaign were also discussed. Some of the suggestions were:

1. To organise a situation whereby the Education Minister was followed
around the country in an effort to be present wherever there was media focus
on him.

2. To organise some action on the day the Leaving Cert. Results come out
given that there would be massive media publicity. It’s also very relevant
because we will gain support not by moaning about how poor students are but
by making points about access to education. CJ raised some difficulty with
the idea, in that it an opportunity for USI to encourage people to go to
college, rather than perhaps scaring them away with stories of how expensive
college is. It was also suggested that the day the offers come out might be
a better day, given that it has more to do with access to education than the
results.

author by james redmond - sapublication date Mon Jul 29, 2002 14:51author email antrophe at hotmail dot comReport this post to the editors

A national email list has been set up to organise and coordinate the efforts of students and anyone else who wants to fight the recent hike in fees and for genuine free education. Join the list by sending a mail to campaignforfreeeducation@yahoogroups.com.

Related Link: http://www.socialistalternative.cjb.net
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