Exeposé News Online (12 September 2014) – collaboration with Exeposé editor Harrison Jones
The government have today announced that they will not be cutting the Disabled Student Allowance (DSA), in the wake of a nationwide student campaign against the proposals.
The plans, first announced in April 2014, will now be put on hold for two years, Universities and Science Minister Greg Clark said this morning.
The original proposal sparked criticism from the National Union of Students (NUS) and numerous student bodies around the country.
Among the proposed changes were restrictions on non-medical support for disabled students, including note-taking, and access to computers and laptops.
An NUS campaign, #DegreesOfDiscrimination, urged students across the country to lobby MPs over the proposed cuts, branded “dangerous and damaging.”
Former Sabbatical Officers Alex Louch and Chris Rootkin had led the Exeter campaign, supported by the Students’ Guild.
Earlier today, Rootkin posted on the Exeter campaign’s Facebook page, congratulating those who took part in the movement.
In the Exeter campaigners’ Facebook group, Rootkin went on to relay thanks and congratulations from himself and Louch, saying: “This was down to you- the students on the ground who have made their voices heard and been part of an even bigger student movement who would not accept the changes.
“This campaign is an example of just what students are capable of when we put our heads together.
“Well done everyone, I’m so proud to have been involved in this campaign and you all should be too!”
NUS President Toni Pearce posted her reaction on social media, tweeting: “Thanks to amazing work from students’ unions, the government has announced they will KEEP DSA.”
Kate Hawkins, VP Welfare and Diversity, said: “I am delighted at the government’s decision to postpone the planned cuts to the DSA. The overwhelming feeling among students is that to abolish the DSA would be a step backward for inclusive higher education and the Students’ Guild supported students to make their views known to their MPs. The postponement has shown the power that students have to make their voices heard on a national scale.”