Commenting on reports that Deputy PM Nick Clegg and other MPs declined meeting with student constituents in the run-up to the parliamentary debate on tuition fee hikes and education cuts, Simon Barrow, co-director of the beliefs and values thinktank Ekklesia, said:
"Instead of walking away from serious discussion with those at the sharp end of their policies, as many seem to have been doing, politicians and policy makers need to listen and learn from the wider concerns and perspectives being raised by students at Exeter  and elsewhere.
"The notion that 'there is no alternative' to recessionary policies and a narrow approach to higher education based on massive funding reductions and fee increases suggests a dangerous poverty of thought and ambition. 
"We should not be sleep-walking into the damaging and wrong idea that Britain can no longer afford truly public universities."
 Article: ‘The twilight of the public university? Inside Exeter’s occupation’, by John Heathershaw (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/13749 ).
 Press Release: 'Future of public universities at stake, says thinktank' (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/13756 ).