HE national disputes 2021

Boycott Leicester

Sally Hunt and Reading East MP among panellists debating future of higher education

31 October 2017

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt and Reading East MP Matt Rodda are among the panellists debating the future higher education on Thursday at the University of Reading

The panel also includes the UCU's Reading branch president Paul Hatcher and the University of Reading's students' union president Tristan Spencer.

Matt Rodda MP will be able to give a first-hand account of being elected in a university seat at the last general election. Labour's popular election pledge to axe university fees led to the government announcing a complete review of higher education funding at its recent party conference, suggesting different ways to fund universities are back up for debate.

Sally Hunt will talk about the problems the sector and individuals face as a result of the vote to leave the EU including the impact on researchers working on cross-border collaborations, EU colleagues worried about their future or attacks on academic freedom by politicians and some sections of the media.

The event has been organised to mark 70 years of trade union representation for academics at the university. Paul Hatcher from the local union branch will argue that while the Reading branch of UCU is mature enough to engage positively with the university over areas of common concern, it is strong and well organised enough to call it out when it believes it has got things wrong.

After the four panellists have made their opening remarks the audience will be invited to ask questions.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: 'Now is a crucial moment for higher education. The general election showed that there is an appetite for policies that do not saddle students with a lifetime of debt. We aim to be at the forefront of the debate about how we deliver the properly funded universities of the future.

'Brexit poses many challenges for all of us working in higher education. I am looking forward to debating how we rise to those challenges and ensure our universities remain the world-leading institutions we are so proud of.'