On Friday afternoon a group of Warwick University students from Protect the Public University – Warwick occupied the University Council Chamber. They are protesting against the Warwick Vice-Chancellor’s pay increase of £42,000 as part of a deeper opposition to the continuing marketisation and privatisation of higher education.
At a time when students are facing increasingly high graduate debts and financial uncertainty and university staff are experiencing a real wage pay cut, Protect the Public University – Warwick feels immediate action must take place to ensure these radical changes are contested. For example, current students receiving a full maintenance loan along with their tuition loan on a three-year degree will have a post-university debt of £43,500. And now it has been reported that graduates are facing the threat of an increase in their interest payments:
The dramatic restructuring of Higher Education in recent years has led to a substantial drop in university applications, particularly affecting those from low-income backgrounds. The university now reproduces social inequalities rather than contesting them.
This action takes place at a time of resurgence in student activism. A spokesperson for the group said “The national demonstration [at Sussex University] served as a reminder that students at universities across the country must act now if we are to halt this government’s radical restructuring of higher education.”