Re: The destruction of the public education system

Dear Professor Beer,

We are writing to you with the expectation that you will acknowledge our right as students of this University to determine its future, and ensure that our institution represents us on a national level. Our occupation of Oxford Brookes University is not something that we take lightly. As current students, we have lectures, seminars, coursework deadlines and exams looming.

However, we consider the direction of Higher Education policy to be of critical importance; future generations of students are being sold out by the Government, this institution and the Higher Education sector as a whole. We refuse to sit idly by whilst this happens. Oxford Brookes has the capacity to resist these changes locally.

We are therefore calling for action on the following points:

1. The Government is currently dismantling and destroying the Higher Education system in the UK. Students are leaving University with overwhelmingly high levels of debts, and many potential students are being discouraged entirely from applying. We are calling for you to make a public statement condemning the hike in tuition fees, and stating Oxford Brookes University’s support for the principle of free public education.

2. The introduction of fee waivers as a method of reducing the cost of degrees has been called “a con trick” by NUS President Liam Burns. Research shows that most students will not benefit from fee waivers unless they go on to earn over £35,000p.a. Graduates earning less than this will not feel the benefit, as the debt will be written off before the reduction makes any difference.  People who earn more money benefit more. We are calling for you to abolish fee waivers at Oxford Brookes (as UWE and others already have) and to put that money in the hands of the students who need it most, when they need it most, through increased bursaries.

3. We are sure that staff are trying to keep up their morale but the anti-educational flow of Government policy is hampering this, and students are feeling the effects. More and more control is being taken away from the academic staff upon whom this University relies and as students, this management style impacts negatively on our student experience as more time is diverted from class preparation towards the fulfilment of bureaucratic requirements. We are calling for your commitment to letting academics share their wealth of knowledge and expertise with students, without unnecessary interference from Senior Management.

We are sure you share many of our concerns and we appreciate the University’s co-operation thus far. We look forward to your written response.

Regards,

The Occupy Brookes Team