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Placards, banners and lobsters: mobilising for #Nov19

Thursday 10-11-2016 - 12:07

Ahead of the United for Education national demonstration on #Nov19, King's College London SU president Ben Hunt tells us how they've been successfully mobilising students on their campus.

At King’s College London Students’ Union, we have been having great fun and games preparing for the National Demonstration on 19 November!

Our aim with our campus rally is to show dissatisfaction with King’s failure to address issues around the growing BME attainment gap, international and home fees rising and rising mental health issues on campus. The demo is unifying our campus actions and helping us with a visible presence to fight for a liberated and accessible education at King’s, and to be part of that wider vision in the national union.

At our Welcome Fair we flyered and petitioned our hearts out to get signups for the demo and have a combined total of nearly 400 people signed up to support the demo. We have also used our demo sign ups to rally against the university raising fees, launching our #freezethefees campaign which has hundreds of sign ups to date and dozens of active campaigners and supporters.

We’ve held a banner making session and banner drop of it in our university café. In addition to this demo building, we are opening up our lobby space on the day for students who want to follow the demo from there, and letting them know about the SOAS accessible demonstration space.

On the day of the march we will hold a central rally in the quad at Strand Campus before joining the march, and have placard making beforehand.

At King’s, there are huge concerns from our international students about their fees rising to astronomical heights and the TEF being linked with their entry to higher education. They have seen astronomical fee rises year on year. Disabled students still have an inaccessible campus, and racism is on the rise.

Mental health issues at King’s, furthermore, have been underinvested for a long time and are now at crisis point. In our promotion of the demonstration, we have tied our freeze the fees campaign into messaging targeted to liberation groups about the barriers they are facing to education.

I spent much of welcome fair dressed as a lobster and, to promote postgraduate engagement with the demo as casual contracts for Graduate Teaching Assists increase, I’ve promised if there is a good turn out on the day to repeat the act in the demo! So if nothing else, please go to see me try and cast student debt into the sea, and join me in dressing up as your favourite creature fighting for a liberated and accessible education. #mannequinchallenge

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