Complaints about universities require revolutionary resolutionApril 25, 2016
According to the Complete University Guide several universities at which the Marxist Student Federation has a presence are in the top ten for institutions with the most unresolved student complaints.
The top ten are as follows:
- London Metropolitan University – 84.5 unresolved complaints per 1000 students
- Cardiff Metropolitan University – 64.7
- University of Liverpool – 57.2
- London South Bank University – 56.3
- University of Leicester – 52.3
- Newcastle University – 50.8
- Glyndwr University – 46.7
- Cardiff University – 45.2
- Aston University – 44.7
- University of Surrey – 43.3
These figures raise questions about how much time and energy is being put into making sure the quality of students’ education and their conditions of life are as high as possible at university. It is telling that London Met tops this list, as an institution that has suffered some of the most severe cuts in recent years.
We encourage the Marxist societies and individual students at these universities to raise questions about these figures in their student unions and with their university management. Why are there so many student complaints that are not being resolved? How much of the university’s resources go towards maximising the quality of student life and education? Where else is university money being spent?
We encourage students to follow the example of the Kent, Cut the Rent campaign, launched by the Kent Marxist society, which is demanding that the university open its books so that students can see where the university’s money is being spent, and that students be given a majority of positions on the University Council, to guarantee that the university is run in the interests of students, not management bureaucrats.
Ultimately this is the only way to resolve student complaints about universities. The institutions have to be run democratically by the students themselves, along with academic and non-academic staff. Placing too much power in the hands of business managers is a recipe for placing profit-seeking above all else.
This also raises questions about how universities are funded. Complaints at any institution are bound to increase as the quality of education, accommodation etc. is decreased in line with government austerity. To tackle student issues at university we need to be arguing for massive government investment in education, to make sure that it is not only free but that all students receive a living grant for the duration of their studies.
Whilst this is not possible on the basis of a capitalist system in crisis, as we have today, it would be possible on the basis of the democratic and socialised use of the vast quantities of wealth in society today. Expropriating the super-rich and using their wealth to fund education, among other things, is a revolutionary and logical solution to the problems faced by students and workers today. This is the genuinely socialist call that should be taken up by the NUS, the trade unions and Corbyn’s Labour party. It is what Marxist students are fighting for all over the country and around the world.