On Saturday, students from across the country gathered in London to protest against the implementation of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and OUSU decided to get involved.
TEF is currently being implemented by the government and will allow participating universities which are judged to teach certain subjects well to raise their tuition fees by £250 a year. Apparently £6000 a year extra wasn’t enough for Oxford, as they have resolved to sign up for TEF despite large portions of the student body opposing the move. Due to contract peculiarities, those lucky enough to have started before 2016 will escape the raise, but freshers can expect to pay an extra £250 each year that they are at university when the policy is implemented. OUSU, along with other student unions from across the country, helped to organise the national protest against this. To support this effort it hired two coaches to transport students who sign up down to London. OUSU justified this with the fact that this is the kind of issue that they should be campaigning about, as having more debt will directly impact student welfare. However, in failing to ask JCRs for the money to do this first, the result has been that its funds have been seriously depleted so they have had to ask JCRs for donations to replete them. This has caused contentious debate at open meetings, with a range of donations being eventually coughed up.