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Issue 48 Monday November 28st 2011 An In Influential Forgoen Man victims Professor John Oxford, one of London’s most influential people, talks to QMessenger. p. 3 Unemployment spike Is the crisis in youth unemployment being handled correctly? p. 7 The true story of young women in gangs. p. 6 The Newspaper of Queen Mary Students’ Union Students vote against anti-fascist policy on campus The motion to affiliate QMSU with Unite Against Fascism also contained a No Platform Policy against fasicst groups such as the EDL. Arianne Osman The motion for UAF affiliation and a ‘No platform for fascists’ policy on the Queen Mary campus was rejected by an overwhelming majority by the student council last week. “What fascists really want from public platforms is the respectability they provide, they want to present the veneer of being mainstream and acceptable. Queen Mary should not be playing in to the hands of Fascists by providing them with platforms that will allow them to this respectability, by treating fascist ideas as if they had some place in the political debate of our society” Ross Speer, a third year history and politics student who proposed the motion told QMessenger: “fascists such as the EDL are a clear and present danger to our students both on and off cam- Postgraduate Officer Michael Gilbert pus. We have seen the violent nature talked about the “defence of freedom of the EDL in recent months: 60 ar- of speech” calling it a “foundation rested for violent disorder on their for political discussion” for which to demonstration in Tower Hamlets, “understand the other person” as “we over 170 arrested as they tried to at- can still benefit from what they have tack the St Paul’s occupation, an at- to say”. Defending the motion, Welfare Oftempted attack on the North West regional HQ of the trade union UNITE ficer Eduardo Palombo said: “I am all for free speech” however “the univeronly last week”. Speaking against the motion, sity shouldn’t promote any such be- Image by Gavin Lynn (via Flickr CC) lief that racist speech is acceptable”. He continued: “We don’t want BNP and EDL members coming onto campus and using language that offends many people”. Vice President of Communications, Sam Creighton responded that there are many groups who could potentially “cause offence to someone” and this did not warrant them being banned from the university. Lowering fees risks creating a social gap between institutions » 27 universities are seeking to reduce fee levels before September 2012 Arianne Osman The 27 unnamed institutions that have decided to decrease their university fees for the upcoming academic year 2012/13 risk forcing students from lower income backgrounds to settle for less when it comes to selecting where they want to study. The decision to lower fees from the £9,000 limit comes after a government promise to allow another 20,000 student places for univer- sities who have agreed to charge £7,500 or less. While students coming from a high-income background will have the ability to choose institutions regardless of the fees, low-income students risk being pressured into staying within the reduced fee category. A report by MPs said: “This could have undesirable consequences for social mobility if able candidates from lower socio-economic backgrounds felt constrained to choose lower-cost provision,”. » MPs say this will have “undersirable consequences” for poorer students Prospective university students may also choose to take courses at local colleges in order to stay at home and save on student housing costs. The report noted: “Further education colleges (and other providers) are capable of offering excellent low-cost and high-quality provision, but they may not offer the same experience as a student might receive in a traditional university.” “The White Paper will create a much more sharply polarised edu- cation sector with huge disparities in the resources institutions are given without any educational justification,” said Ozzy Amir, Campaigns Officer. “The government is exacerbating the problem of ‘social sorting’. Applicants will increasingly end up going to universities with students like themselves or choosing their university based on the price tag over the educational merits of that particular institution.” He likened the problem to that of universities in the USA, where students from a lower socioeconomic background are hugely un- derrepresented at prestigious institutions. “This year alone we’ve already seen a drop in applications by 12%. The White Paper risks setting back any progress in social mobility in this country for years to come.” Beanish Mahmood, a third year English student said: “I think that universities should not have different fees. I believe it is incredibly unfair to split people on monetary basis rather than an academic one. Everyone should have equal opportunity to attend whichever university they like, regardless of wealth.”

QMessenger Issue 48

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