Sunday, 1 February 2015

University Court backs Occupation demand

In what is being hailed as a resounding victory for students, Lancaster University's Student University news service Scan reports that two motions, one of which reflected the principal demand from the recent occupation of University House (see previous story), were put forward by student representatives and passed yesterday by the 2015 annual meeting of University Court. This Court was the first to be presided over by Lancaster’s new Chancellor, Rt Hon Alan Milburn (ex-Secretary of State under Labour).
You can read the motions in full on the Scan website here.

The occupation's first  demand was: 'No rise in tuition fees or rent now or in the future.'

The first of the two motions put to the University Court was proposed by VP (Education) Joe O’Neill. It sought to urge the University to reconsider the recent decision to increase tuition fees for international and postgraduate students,

It also sought the University to reconsider the increase in on-campus rent.

The motion also stated that the Court wished:

- To express its dissatisfaction with the decision to increase rent and  Postgraduate / International student tuition fees.

- To express its dissatisfaction with the level of consultation on the decision.

A second motion, which was proposed by VP (Campaigns and Communications) Ronnie Rowlands, urged the University to consider the abolition of search committees for the college principal appointments, placing more responsibility with the college syndicates.

Both motions were passed by an overwhelming majority of those in attendance.

The Court does not appear to have the authority to stop the rent increase outright. It will remain up to the University's executive bodies to consider how its wishes might best be interpreted. Nevertheless these progressive motions do signify a groundswell of support for progressive social mobility and the welfare of students.

The 2015 session of University Court took place in George Fox Lecture Theatre 1. University Court is the body which aims to reflect the wider interests served by Lancaster University, and includes many members from outside of the University, including alumni, those representing the local community, and other interested bodies, in addition to members of University management, members of staff and over 50 student representatives.

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