Christ Church says it’s fees-able

first_imgChrist Church JCR held an Emergency General Meeting last Sunday and passed a motion mandating its officers to support the Government’s proposals to raise tuition fees.The finalised motion, proposed by Christ Church OUSU representative Sébastien Fivaz, expressed the JCR’s belief that except for the “extensive cuts”, the Government’s proposals provide a “sustainable future” for higher education.Second year student Adrian Hogan said the Emergency Meeting took place because “our OUSU rep thought that it was important for our JCR to have a position.”Fivaz, who is running for NUS delegate in this year’s OUSU elections, proposed that the Christ Church JCR defined its position “because OUSU assume ours currently.”He continued, “Our views are slightly more nuanced than OUSU’s. We need to take a stance.”Passed by 21 votes to 14, the motion followed a debate, where some students argued that the JCR should not take a position on such a contentious issue.One student, James Ingoldby said, “The JCR should not play the role of government.”It has also been suggested that a JCR position voted on by less than 10 per cent of undergraduates at Christ Church is inconclusive.Stuart Cullen, former Union President, felt that “the JCR is very divided on the matter.”He said, “Surely it is unfair to give the JCR representative a mandate to take a specific position on [tuition fees] when this does not reflect the JCR’s views.”However JCR President Mike Barrett argued that “just because we cannot get a unanimous decision does not mean that this motion should be rejected…these are the processes in place to make the students’ voices heard.”The motion’s suggestion to support an increase in tuition fees was met with opposition from many of those present.One student, Thomas Peter Hire, argued that higher fees would mean that “Oxford and Cambridge will charge more than elsewhere, which will surely impact on who applies there. “If universities can charge such high figures then students from poorer backgrounds would be discouraged from coming to Oxbridge. “Oxbridge would become more of a ghetto for people with money than it already is.”The JCR’s decision also risks putting Christ Church at odds with OUSU, who have expressed their opposition to the Browne Review. OUSU have labelled the Browne Review a “blueprint for elitism” and President David Barclay called the decision to raise fees “a slap in the face to students from disadvantaged backgrounds.”However OUSU has not commented on the Government’s proposals to raise fees as distinct from those outlined in the Browne Review, leading a Christ Church JCR committee member to point out that “the two policies are entirely reconcilable.”Fivaz agreed, “The government have come to a good compromise [on fees] with soft and hard caps of £6000 and £9000.”The final motion stated that the JCR believes “that a sustainable future for higher education funding is provided for by the proposals made by Her Majesty’s Government except the extensive cuts to higher education teaching proposed in the Spending Review 2010.”last_img

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