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The 1980s

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Clip: Defend the OU campaign
Duration: 00:01:15
Date: 31-02-1985

The start of the 1980s saw pressures on funding as the University's budget was cut by the government, leading to a rise in tuition fees and cuts to university services.

In response to the cuts the University mobilised support - particularly from students and graduates. In 1985 following more years of financial strain, the OU Students Association presented a petition of 165,000 signatures to 10 Downing Street, including 35,000 undergraduates. A parliamentary Early Day Motion attracted 166 signatures, stating:

"That this House confirms its belief in the Open University and regrets the repeated grant reductions imposed... furthermore acknowledges the excellent and vital work of the Open University in providing educational opportunities, especially for the unemployed, disabled and those in remote areas..."

The first clip on this page is from Open Forum 103 (1985). The clip shows the University's second Vice Chancellor, John Horlock, speaking at the OUSA (OU Students Association) conference. Professor Horlock acknowledges the role of the Association in supporting the OU through the financial cuts.

Although there was some restoration of funding later in the decade, by 1989 the government grant had declined by over a quarter per undergraduate in real terms since 1980. Despite this, the 1980s were also years of expansion and development for the University.

The 1980s (page 1 of 4)