Wednesday 09-03-2016 - 11:22
This is a guest blog by Steffan Chambers, President of Coleg Meirion Dwyfor Students' Union.
Since the very beginning of my term as student union president at CMD I’ve been bombarded every day with complaints about the transport services that the majority of our students take.
Living in such a rural area makes it almost impossible for students outside the immediate area of our campuses to simply walk to college, so those who can’t drive must use public transport.
Back in 1993, a decision was made to scrap most sixth forms in Dwyfor Meirionnydd. One of the promises made by the council at the time was that no student would ever have to pay for their transport to college. However, the council had already gone back on that promise 5 years ago when they established a £60 per term charge on students for an unpunctual, unfair and unacceptable bus service.
Fast forward to 2015 and the community committee in Gwynedd Council announced to us out of nowhere their plan to raise the token from £60 to £100 a term (£300 a year!). This caused outrage amongst students at CMD and opposition was voiced immediately on the local and national media.
After meeting with Ebbi Ferguson, the college’s newly established students' union council decided a protest was one of the most effective ways for students, parents and other members of the public to express their opposition to the plan.
The event on St David’s day went wonderfully. It was a nice day (for a change!) and many students came out to support our campaign. Members of the council who are opposed to the council cabinet’s plans joined as guest speakers. Also amongst the guest speakers was Ebbi - to whom we’re very grateful for all of her help and every one of us wish the best of luck to her in future!
Following the protest the council have delayed the decision and are waiting to establish a committee for students, transport companies and the council to negotiate the many problems that exist. Obviously we will be fighting to keep the costs down!
Since starting this campaign it is obvious that Gwynedd Council operates in an unrepresentative, unfair and undemocratic way which neglects students and parents. I would like to think that at the end of my term as SU president in CMD I have fought tooth and nail to stop the Council denying many local students the right to an education and of course I hope for concrete results.