As we’ve made clear, the Student Assembly Against Austerity and the other organisers of the demonstration have successful agreed a safe and accessible route with the police, have a serious stewarding operation in place and are working with Westminster and Camden Councils and Transport for London to ensure the day runs as smoothly as possible. We completely reject the NUS President’s inaccurate statement, which is spreading unnecessary confusion.
The NUS National President does not, however, speak for the whole of NUS. A number of NUS National Officers, National Executive Members and entire sections of NUS, which represent millions of students, have confirmed that they will continue to support and mobilise for the national free education demo.
Below we outline some of support within the NUS that remains for the national demo.
Gordon Maloney, President of NUS Scotland has confirmed that NUS Scotland will continue to support the demo. He said:
“I’m marching for free education because it is affordable and the only reason we don’t have it is because Cameron and his Tory pals want students and young people to be shackled with debt so they are quieter and less of a hassle.”
The NUS Black Students’ Campaign – which represents 1 million students - has published the following statement in support of the demo:
“The NUS Black Students Campaign represents over one million students of African, Arab, Asian and Caribbean descent. It is Black students, along with other oppressed groups, who suffer the greatest disadvantages from the Government’s continued austerity measures. Our campaign is proud to have unequivocal and consistent policy in support of free education and against cuts to education.
"Since the tripling of tuition fees in 2010, the UK’s education system has become one of the most expensive in the world. Coupled with the abolishing of the Education Maintenance Allowance – a vital grant that has assisted thousands of young Black students through Further Education – young Black people have been further excluded from opportunities in education.
"Given the outrageous assault on students, it is vital that we fight to defend education, the welfare state and vital public services to protect the rights, interests and futures of Black students.
"The NUS Black Students' Campaign is aware that there are serious issues that need to be addressed, namely the accessibility of disabled students, amongst other things. We hope that the organisers have taken this into account and are making the relevant changes to ensure the demo is accessible for all students wishing to attend.
"The NUS Black Students' Campaign remains committed to the fight for a Free Education for all, as we believe that is it a right, not a privilege. Despite the decision of NUS to withdraw their support from the upcoming 'Free Education Demo', the NUS Black Students' Campaign maintains its support for the demonstration.”
The NUS International Students’ Campaign has issued the following statement backing the demo:
"After a lot of consideration, International Students Committee has decided to stand in solidarity with the national demonstration for free education on November 19. We completely appreciate the point that there are safeguarding concerns. Therefore, we urge the international students taking part in the demonstration to be cautious about their decision. It is important to understand that if we are arrested, we have fewer legal rights than home students. As the recent months have shown, non EU international students have been deported just because they attended an English language test which was later discounted by the government. We worry that being arrested will give a stronger excuse to the government to deport students. Therefore, we urge international students, who are considering attending the demonstration, to be aware of the risks and make an informed decision with regards to their participation. However, we remember the importance of free education not just in the UK but around the world. Education is a tool of emancipation not just for the privileged few but for all of us. And education has no nationality. As the International Students' Committee, we believe education should be free and accessible, not only to home students but to anyone who wants to study in the UK. Therefore, if several thousands of students are marching for free education, then we stand with them in solidarity."
Shreya Paudel, NUS (UK) International Students’ Officer
Teodora Teodorescu, NUS NEC 2nd place from International Students Campaign
Shrouk El-Attar, NUS Wales International Students’ Officer
Roza Salih, NUS Scotland International Students’ Officer
Mostafa Rajaai, NUS International Students’ Committee member
Colin Mang, NUS International Students’ Committee member
Anastasia Mamaeva, NUS International Students’ Committee member
NUS London – which represents 1 million students in the Capital - is also backing the demo.