We've just finished an MA in Human Rights from University College London and the recent news that the University of London have obtained a court order banning students from peacefully occupying space on campus has alarmed us... It seems contradictory to us that an Institution that has prepared us for a life as human rights practitioners has now curtailed the democratic rights of its students.
The University of London needs to start supporting its students and protecting their interests. However, the trajectory of events last week demonstrates that management are unwilling to do this. Until this changes we need our union to stay open, so that we can support each other and campaign to protect students' interests ourselves.
Students across the country, including myself, have engaged in a various means of protesting, including occupying buildings and building road blocks, as a means of objecting to the gradual privatisation of our Higher Education institutions... Rather than negotiate or create a dialogue with their students and staff, the steps taken by university management seemed to be united across the nation: shut down the protests and bring in the police.
Whenever I am coerced into a discussion about gender equality, the same points always seem to be regurgitated: "Why do you hate men? Women already have equality. Are you gay or something?" Well, yes actually, but that's beside the point. Although while we're on the subject, why is it so shocking to come out as a feminist anyway?
Stonewall is investing time, energy and money into normalising homosexuality amongst young people, particularly in schools. One of the key tenets of their initiative is to 'set the meaning straight' with regards to the word 'gay.' We can debate the evolution of language over a pint at the union to our heart's content...
The notion of cultural Americanization begs a related question: is America an exceptional country? Clearly, the United States military can transport troops and resources at a scale and speed that no other country can match. Moreover, domestic crises at home, including bi-partnership disputes and financial instability, have repercussions all over the world.
As we go from day to day yelling at one another over what is acceptable to wear and what is acceptable to say we engage in an invaluable part of our society. To have ourselves heard does not always have to mean by the government or by a bureaucratic state, it can just mean being heard by those we're talking to; the people who have betrayed common sense...
You don't have to look too hard at this government's policies - across the board - to see a pattern emerge. What this government has done, in almost all policy areas, is target young people, making them pay more for education, reducing the benefits which they can claim, making it harder for them to earn a decent living or find a decent home.
The Feminist Society at the University carries out some great work, organising events to raise awareness of gender inequality on campus and debating key topics at their meetings. However, the Facebook page is a constant battle, in which participating members appear to enjoy attacking one another's views as opposed to actually coming to an educated conclusion and concentrating on the key issues facing women at the University.