East End students join tuition fees protest

East London students claim tuition fees would put degrees out of their reach

Students from the Mile End campus of Queen Mary College missed lectures to join the student protest against tuition fees at Westminster today.

Around 40 students headed off from the Mile End campus towards the University of London student union before joining the protestors from universities across the country as MPs prepared to vote on the controversial issue which could see them facing an annual teaching bill from their university of �7,800 each a year. Nationally fees could be set as high as �9,000 a year.

Second year history and politics student Ross Speer from Surrey is a veteran of this year’s student protests and had been to the previous three events in central London.

He said: “I’m protesting because I value my education. I would not be able to come here if my course cost �9,000. I feel very passionately about it.”

He said his family supported him joining the protest and had complained to police about students being kettled at a previous protest.

Law Ph.D student Ruth Saunders, 24, said she had contacted her MP but has had no reply yet. She said: “If those cuts were in place I would not be able to do what I’m doing.”

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She said PhDs cost the government �100,000 each to fund.

She plans to teach when she finishes her studies but said proposed cuts could force her to seek work in Canada instead.

“The MPs need to vote against it.

“This is my first protest about this issue, but I think this is the most important thing.”

First year drama student Karl Taylor, 18, “It’s really important to get involved. It doesn’t affect me personally but there’s loads of 14-year-olds it will.”

MPs are due to start debating tuition fees at 5.30pm before a vote later today.