Campaigning on local, national and global issues.... 



Education Funding Campaign: 2008/ 09

What Can I Do | Find Out More


Durham Students say NO! to the marketisation of Higher Education


DSU is campaigning against variable fees and calling on the Government to find a better, fairer solution to funding higher education. The current model of funding for higher education is up for review next year and the Government is coming under pressure to REMOVE the cap on fees, which would mean that Universities could charge undergraduates 8, 10, 15 thousand pounds a year, or even more. 


In 2004 "Top Up Fees" were introduced and fees were capped at £3000, so universities could not charge above this amount per year, but if the cap goes then there will be a different in price at different institutions: some offering premium rate degrees at premium prices and others at the opposite end of the scale offering budget degrees with economy price tags. 


If we don't stop the government doing this, not only will student debt go through the roof but this new "EDUCATION SUPERMARKET" will mean many students will start to choose course on the grounds of AFFORDABILITY rather than ABILITY and consider how much debt they can afford instead of which degree is best for them.


Education Supermarket : come into DSU this week and visit our education supermarket, which we've set up to show the dangers of variable fees. Is choosing a degree going to be like shopping for baked beans? The choice of cheapo economy, heinz premium or bogstandard normal awaits you. There's also a FREE can of baked beans for everyone.   


 What can I do?

 -  Write to your MP: collect a letter from DSU (or download it here ) sign it and add your address at the top. Send it back to DSU (in the internal mail, leave it at reception or give it to your senior rep) and we'll put it in the post to your MP and pay the postage. The more pressure put on MPs to take this issue seriously the better!


-  Durham Debt: tell us how much debt you are in - fill in a postcard, which you can collect from DSU or your Senior Rep. We are going to calculate the total Durham debt to illustrate how serious this problem already is. The postcards will be sent to local MPs later this term. 


- Education Supermarket : come into DSU this week and visit our education supermarket, which we've set up to show the dangers of variable fees. Is choosing a degree going to be like shopping for baked beans? Collect your can of free baked beans. 


Find out more:

Open letter from NUS President elect Wes Streeting:


Briefing from NUS 


Read the DSU President's thoughts here: 



Women's Week 2008 : 12th - 15th February

Women's week is jam packed full of events to get you thinking about female equality and gender issues.



12th – Comedy Cafe, with the two female comedians Jo Enright & Avril Springsteen at 7.30pm, Riverside Cafe


13th – Breast Cancer Awareness Campaigning 9am - 12pm, outside Elvet Riverside/Science Site


14th – Lecture by Erika Rackley on "Diversity in the Legal Professions" (free) 4.15pm, ER140


Self Defence Class for all genders ran by Shorijki Kempo (free) - Impress your valentine with some kick ass moves! 5.15pm, Fonteyn Ballroom, DSU


15th – 'Women in Politics' talk at Queens Campus by Kat Stark & Dari Taylor (time/place to be confirmed) (free)


Super Women and Men PLANET OF SOUND – FANCY DRESS - Get your tickets from the DSU shop! 10pm-2am



Join the facebook group here or e-mail the Womens' Officer [email protected]







LGBTa Awareness Week



LGBT people in the UK have won many rights over the past few years, and our lives have changed dramatically as a result. We have a legal system that supports our right to be who we are, and express our love. But around the world, many LGBT do not share our rights. Instead, they are criminalised, persecuted, imprisoned and even murdered by their own governments, just because of who they are, and who they love. Their governments not only ignore their human right to protection from attacks, but actively sponsor them. This years Q-week aims to raise awareness of their situation.

See the LGBTa website for details of the week






Disability Awareness Week


The term Disability does not just refer to a person with mobility difficulties. It is defined in the Disability Discrimination Act as “a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.” This means that dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD, ME, and even mental health conditions are all counted as a disability. There are 1100 people registered with DUSSD (the Durham University Service for Students with Disabilities) and for these people disabilities are a very real issue. There are 100s more who study without any help whatsoever, and these students deserve to be helped. Disabilities are undoubtedly an exceedingly important issue and something which has an impact on many students’ lives and in order to highlight this issue DSU is running a campaign week starting on the 28th January promoting Disability Awareness


A large variety of events will be happing as part of the week. A sign language workshop will be running at both the Durham and Queens Campuses, allowing students to gain an appreciation of signing, and even learn some basic vocabulary! Each college bar will be running a loose your senses night; in which people will be able to discover how hard it is to enjoy a drink blindfolded, or order and carry a drink back from the bar with only one arm. The aim will be to make students appreciate how lucky they are when they go on a night out. Films which tackle the issue of disabilities in an interesting way; such as Of Mice and Men, will also be showing in colleges. A three legged bar crawl is planned in Stockton with money being raised to go towards SCA projects with children with special needs.


The Students with Disabilities Officer for the Union will be spending all day on Monday at the Queens Campus to discuss with students there the issues surrounding disabilities, and answering any queries which students may have. A drop in session will also be held in Durham later on in the week.


DSU is committed to furthering the rights of students with disabilities and encouraging all students to think about the place which disabilities have in the wider world. At times Durham can be seen as such an insular place, but when we leave the cocooned bubble we  will all be faced with issues of diversity, and an awareness about the many unseen disabilities is an integral part of this.

For further information on the Durham University Service for Students with Disabilities please visit or email [email protected] or get in touch with Natalie Crisp, the DSU Students with Disabilities Officer for support and advice by email at [email protected]







STOP THE TRAFFIK : 5th - 9th November



People trafficking is the fastest growing form of international crime. Men, women and children are trafficked across borders at a rate of 1 every minute and the industry invloves 2.4 million people world wide. If you'd like to sign the petition calling for the UN to campaign seriously about People Traffiking, go to 

Also look out for traffik free products in the DSU shop!

In true Durham style we're starting the campaign with a barcrawl on Monday 5th see details here and look out for us so you can sign the petition which will be presented to the UN in February.
On Wednesday you can catch the film 'Lilya 4 Ever' at 7.15pm in ER140 ( 'Lilya 4 Ever' is a famous hard-hitting film directed by Lukas Moodysson based on the true story of Dangoule Rasalaite, a young woman from the former Soviet Union who is deceived into being trafficked for exploitation in Sweden.
On Thursday look out for us outside 'The Drum' on the science site where you'll be able to sign the Freedom Wall and the petition and will be able to catch the Mayor and JCR presidents at around 2.15pm and throughout the afternoon freeing some 'trafficked' students.


If you'd like to find out more about campaign go to







Boobs and Balls!


The boobs and balls campaign is raising awareness of breast and testicular cancer. If you'd like a boobs and balls door hanger, just ask your Welfare Officer in College or come and collect one from DSU. If you have any concerns about your personal health make sure you book an appointment with your GP.  


Boobs and Balls




                        - Click here for larger image -




Keep the Cap!!


Durham Students say NO!! to the marketisation of Higher Education!


The government is making moves to remove the £3000 cap on fees to create a genuine free market in higher education. Universities will be able to charge undergraduates 10, 15, 20 thousand pounds a year, or even more. If we don't stop the government doing this, not only will student debt go through the roof but this new 'education market' will mean many students will have to choose a course on the grounds of AFFORDABILITY rather than ABILITY.


We invite you to step forward, demand your say, exercise your democratic right and tell Gordon what you think. Please sign this petition to Keep The Cap on Top Up Fees and oppose the marketisation of higher education


You can find a sample letter to send to your MP at Check out the site in the coming weeks for updates on the campaign, or join the facebook group at





My Friend Oli


Our Chancellor, Bill Bryson, is on a mission to encourage students to sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register.


I have a young friend named Oli who never goes anywhere without a mobile phone that is always on but never used. If all goes well, the phone will only be used once: to receive a call from the transplant unit telling him that they have found a suitable heart and lungs for him.  Oli is twenty-two years old and has cystic fibrosis. Without a transplant he faces a life of increasing breathlessness and a very early death. When the call comes, he will have three hours to say goodbye to loved ones, get to the hospital, and be wheeled into an operating theatre. But the call may never come.  Oli is one of some 8,000 people in the UK waiting for an organ transplant. His chances of getting a call in time are about 50-50, he has been told.

For somebody somewhere, it may be the most important minute you ever take.


Surveys show that people overwhelmingly support the concept of organ donations and that more than 90 per cent of us would be glad to know that our organs were being used to help others after our own deaths. But only about twenty per cent of us sign on to the NHS Organ Donor Register. In tragic consequence nearly 500 people die unnecessarily each year because suitable transplant organs cannot be found for them in time.


For that reason, I'm launching a campaign to get as many people as possible to sign on to the national register. My hope is that by this time next year we'll be able to say that Durham has the most signed up university students, staff and alumni in the United Kingdom.


It only takes a minute or so to register online at or you can ring 0845 60 60 400


 - Bill Bryson 


Surveys show that people overwhelmingly support the concept of organ donation and that more than 90% of us would be glad to know that our organs were being used to help others after our own deaths. But only about 20% of us sign on to the NHS Organ Donor Register. In tragic consequence nearly 500 people die unnecessarily each year because suitable transplant organs cannot be found for them in time.


During Epiphany term last year students burst into lectures wiht Bill, interrupted tutorials, and stormed libraries, labs and dining halls to announce the MFO campaign, distribute leaflets and push Bill as the founder. They even canvassed on the street and in the college bars. The response was huge!


Bill will be visiting Durham again in October to talk to students and staff about the campaign.If you would like to get involved in this campaign please e-mail Pops Barham at [email protected]  






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