THE BLOG
12/12/2013 08:09 GMT | Updated 10/02/2014 05:59 GMT

Don't Forget Where the Power Lies...

I'm happy to see that students are showing the establishment who really possesses the power. It has been good to see the success of the Cops Off Campus demonstration taking place from London to Aberdeen today.

Why should students not be allowed to protest against issues that we feel are tarnishing higher education? Increase our fees and sell off our student loans: that is your prerogative. But do not expect students to silently swallow your blithe bullshit.

How much can the establishment take from students before we make a stand? While being careful not to condone the nature of the protest three years ago, following Clegg's reversed promise on tuition fees, it should provide a stark reminder to those intent on meddling with higher education.

I can't help but feel that education is in danger of losing its position in society. Maybe wrongly, I felt as though universities were hubs of knowledge and thought, debate and discussion, freedom of belief and expression. Again, maybe wrongly, I felt that universities were unique in their balance of power when compared with the rest of society insofar as the students were those that most influenced the decision-making process.

For such reasons, I am glad that students are protesting against the presence of police on campus. The 'Daily Fail' today reported that the police officer that has been FILMED punching a student at the University of London during a peaceful protest will not be disciplined. Does that really make sense? It almost seems as though we're being targeted from all angles.

Possibly the worst piece of related news came out of Sussex University. I was horrified to learn that the Vice-Chancellor thought it appropriate to instate draconian measures against five students accused of leading protests on campus. Some credit is due him for reversing his decision. However, it was only amid widespread pressure from students, a few MP's and a supermodel that he was willing to do so.

This goes some way to proving where the balance of power really lies. Despite what some may like to believe, the fact remains that universities cannot exist without students. We prop up our institutions and there is only so much we should be willing to concede before we peacefully remind people about who wears the trousers. It is up to individual persons or bodies how they wish to act, or which policies they wish to implement. But by the same token, it is up to us whether we want to accept them and that should not be forgotten, by either the meddlers or by us students.