By Kara Hall
Let’s be honest, inherent classism in the Tory's plans to remove former UWCA Chairman, Nathan Stone, comes as no surprise to anyone, especially from members of a national party who have notoriously undermined democracy and misled the British public more times than they’ve had party leaders.
'I always thought university would be an open environment that looked beyond the boundaries of class and celebrated my individuality, but I've never felt so singled out and different.' (Anonymous)
Before I let out a working-class spiel on my experiences of classism on campus, I would like to preface that this is not a direct attack on the former Chairman for his own experiences at the hands of the Tories. Rather, this is best presented as an attack on the Conservative structure in which he once stood for. For the former Chairman to be surprised at his treatment by Warwick Conservatives is wildly ironic and slightly ignorant, Stone only stood to face the same inherent discrimination that the organisation he once chaired has perpetuated throughout campus towards disadvantaged minority students.
His shock reaction to such innately Tory treatment not only reiterates a lack of Conservative unity but rather exemplifies the manipulation of students as a result of rotating Tory un-truths.
'As northerners we know we're different. We know our presence isn't expected at elitist institutions like Warwick. But we're here, and we're not going any-bloody-where.' (Anonymous)
The outing of alleged abuse from some Conservative members in the UWCA has surprised no-one, in the now-deleted ‘open letter’ which addresses Stone’s experiences during his short time as Chairman, it is obvious that the ‘poor’ aren’t welcome among the façade of elitist Warwick Tories.
There is an ever growing desperation on campus, now more than ever, for the Student Union to make increasing moves to combat the attack on working-class students who quite frankly have enough on their plate. With the cost-of-living crisis and the hidden struggles of disadvantaged students in higher education looming, the University of Warwick’s lack of response over allegations among their societies does not bode well for fears of internalized classism across campus.
Perhaps maybe, it was my own ignorance and lack of awareness of my broad accent, my working class background, and even my grammatical inclinations that made me so naïve to the possibility of working-class discrimination on a campus I had deemed so widely diverse. However, the instant, blatant reactions to my way of speaking quickly reminded me of the country in which I live in, one led by a Tory government that are quick to make it obvious people like me, will never be represented or taken seriously by people like them. Whilst the chaotic Conservative allegations that have (unsurprisingly) emerged may be recent, it fits a depressing trend. Students from struggling socio-economic backgrounds not being taken seriously by the University of Warwick, with minimal help provided at this time, is nothing new.
'I never though I'd be attacked for my class, but turns out, I was blissfully ignorant.' (Anonymous)
Although I do not know what the Tories get up to at their socials (fingers crossed it has nothing to do with £50 notes and matches) this issue now comes down to the glass ceiling looming over working-class students. The notion of Conservative classism brewing within the UWCA has stunned no one, rather, it has rightfully so exemplified the need for change on elite campuses like ours and many others across the UK, red-brick or not.
A word of advice to any UWCA members reading this article. Stop shifting the blame onto the poor for being poor, and take a good look at the internalized classism that the structure you stand for represents. Personally, a good start may be by lowering your membership fee to increase accessibility for less fortunate students who (for some reason) resonate with the values of the Conservative Association. However, I will never quite fathom the possibility of a working-class student standing side to side with a party who have done nothing but taken the mick out of our positions and used them for their own gain.
I think something we can all learn from the circumstances of this resignation is that the Conservative Party, in any form, can quite frankly never be trusted. The frivolous factions which have emerged amongst UWCA members may not bode well for the future presence of Conservative societies on university campuses, and hopefully (though this may be wishful thinking) foreshadows predicted Tory failures in the looming 2024 General Election.
Image: By Ben Firshman - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9415160