Are Students’ Unions in danger of becoming merely marketing tools?
Are Stoudents’ Unions in trouble? This question puts the Huffington Post. The newspaper claims, that higher education is being promoted with questionable tuition fees and questionable ranking systems. Universities are losing their ability to question and critique because they serve more as research grounds and financial aspect of ”knowledge” is taken more into consideration than actual journey to discovery. Students are becoming customers and true feedback from unions gets little attention because it is lost in financial aspect. Even the officers who are representatives of union are working more for the university than for causes they need to represent. They constantly state that they are not politica, but money is poured into funding same things- commercial venues, sports, societies… And while there are many dissatisfied students and underpaid academics, student support still lacks where it is needed the most.
Oxford University accused for admissions racism
A former higher education minister David Lammy accused Oxford University for their lack of desire to tackle racism against black and disadvantaged university applicants. Lammy also questioned lack of ”unconscious bias” training at Oxford. Former education ministar has criticised Oxford and Cambridge’s admissions in the past, stating that not many students with ”disadvantaged” background are being enrolled. He believes that for Oxbridge, the balance between being an elitist institution and an elite institution is still hard to reach.
Battle against predatory for-profit colleges
Obama administration has been fighting against predatory for-profit colleges for the past eight years. Department of Education released a list of college programs that bring debts to the students to the point where they cannot afford to repay. Some of the programs included Kaplan University, ITT tech, University of Phoenix and one highly familiar name- Harvard University. Many universities are not paying attention to whether their degrees are actually worth the price students will pay for their tuition fees. For example, A.R.T. Institute at Harvard University offers a full-time, two-year program that costs around $78,000, but after graduation, their students earn only around $36,000 per year.
Government monitors students’ emails
The Guardian reports, that King’s College London has warned students and staff that their emails might be monitored because of Prevent programme that was launched by government in order to stop radicalisation on campuses. KCL’s students’ union stated that this was a violation of trust because students have not commited any crime, and yet, they are being treated as suspects. The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) said that this notice was not unusual since many other institutions are doing the same. The National Union of Student is concerned because of the impact this monitoring will have, especially because of Muslim, black and all those students who are involved in activities and political campaigns.