The itemised petition, created as part of a new book by two academics on the impact of the government’s reforms, calls for public spending to be brought in line with other European countries and asks for an end to the culture of “customer satisfaction”.
The signatories include academics and leading officers from student unions as well as more high-profile figures, including Neal Lawson, chair of the think tank Compass, and Labour MP John McDonnell.
One of the project’s creators – Des Freedman, reader in communications and cultural studies at Goldsmiths, University of London – said the idea originated from the protests against tuition fee increases late last year. The groundswell of opposition had demonstrated that many people across society, not just students and academics, were concerned about the direction of education policy worldwide.
The book, The Assault on Universities: A Manifesto for Resistance, to be published in the summer, will look at how market forces have altered the purpose of universities, including the effect on the nature of teaching.
Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research. She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014; second edition in process) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.