Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Queen’s students protest over fees

Students unfurl a banner outside the vice-Chancellor's office at Queen's University yesterday during their demonstration against cuts

Students from Queen’s University were among thousands across the UK to stage protests against plans to hike tuition fees.

Up to 60 students were involved in the demonstration outside the vice-Chancellor's office at the south Belfast campus yesterday.

The protest organised by the pressure group FEE (Free Education for Everybody) began at around 1pm and ended peacefully after about three hours.

The students were seeking a meeting with vice-Chancellor Peter Gregson to discuss fears about proposals to raise student fees to £9,000 a year.

Chris Donnelly (21), a first-year history student from Dungannon, was among the protesters.

“We had a meeting on Monday night and decided to go down the protest route against the vice-Chancellor Peter Gregson,” he said.

“We are totally opposed to the Browne Review, which is the proposals to raise the tuition fees up to £9,000.

“We came down to highlight that students at Queen’s are resolutely opposed to the rise in tuition fees.

“It was a peaceful protest, there has been no vandalism.

“It is a stewarded protest. Security guards are not allowing people outside the building in.”

QUB Students’ Union president Gareth McGreevy, however, said it was an independent protest.

“The Students’ Union acknowledges the right for peaceful protest and the choice to do so.

“The protest was independent to any action currently ongoing by QUBSU.”

And Mr McGreevy added: “We will continue their campaign, as well as negotiating with politicians, with the university, students and all stakeholders in relation to the current higher education funding debate.”

A spokesman for QUB said the protest ended quickly.

“There was small protest by a number of young people,” the spokesman revealed.

“Professor Tony Gallagher, pro-vice-Chancellor, addressed the students, listened to their concerns, and promised to report them back to the university’s management board.”

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