After consulting with students at Coventry University and Warwick University, Zarah Sultana, MP, has written to the Universities Minister to call for urgent action to underwrite the higher education sector with public funding, agree a jobs guarantee & put a safety net in place for our students.
In the letter Sultana highlights that:
“The impact of this crisis in the higher education sector will be felt disproportionately by working class and marginalised staff and students, exacerbating structural racial, gender and class inequalities in the sector. Further if we fail to protect our higher education institutions through this crisis, the long term cost in terms of lost investment, education and research will be severe.”
“Staff, students and the wider community need support and assurances now about the future of our universities. Will the government present a comprehensive plan to safeguard their interests, acting to underwrite the higher education sector and protect livelihoods in Coventry and across the country? We are calling for:
1.An overhaul of university funding to redirect finance away from senior management and capital expenditure and to guarantee public funding to cover any remaining financial shortfall over the coming period.
2.A jobs guarantee agreed with institutions in return which includes the retroactive protection of all staff from lay-offs, cuts to hours or to terms and conditions, including staff on fixed-term and casualised contracts, on which the sector depends.
3.The Student Safety Net measures called for by the National Union of Students including rent suspension for students and maintenance grants to support working class students.”
“We are calling on the government to move as soon as possible to replace this failed model with a system of public higher education based on public funding, an end to fees and marketisation, and democratic participation of staff and students in the running of their institutions.”
The letter can be read in full below.