We are currently looking for officers to sign our open letter to UCEA to settle the dispute with UCU and end the current Marking and Assessment Boycott.
Please read the letter below and support this initiative by signing up!
Dear Mr Jethwa,
We are a group of democratically elected student officers across the four UK nations calling for UCEA to #SettletheDispute with UCU and end the current Marking and Assessment Boycott, thus minimising disruption to students and saving their degrees.
Students across the UK have worked so hard through a year which has delivered a severe cost-of-living crisis, and have had access to very limited financial support from their institutions and the Government. Today’s final-year students have also struggled through a University experience like no other; they have studied throughout lockdowns with limited face to face teaching, and very limited opportunities to interact in-person with their peers and support staff. Students deserve to have their marks at the end of the academic year. The staff who have tirelessly worked to support students through three incredibly difficult years deserve to be paid fairly and have sustainable working conditions.
The current Marking and Assessment Boycott threatens to cause irreparable damage to the quality of degrees awarded this year, the future job prospects of 2023 graduates, and the progression of returning students to their next year of study.
There are currently many students for whom the future is uncertain. Many do not know whether they will be able to graduate if their final assessments are not marked. For those that will graduate, many are concerned about the value of their degree in a highly competitive graduate job market. No matter the circumstance, the long-lasting impacts of the Boycott will give graduates additional challenges in securing employment following their programme of study which, during a cost-of-living crisis, will be hugely detrimental. This is especially a wider concern for the rest of the country, with an NHS in crisis and schools missing their teacher recruitment targets by bigger and bigger margins each year. The Marking and Assessment Boycott threatens to exacerbate the workforce problems of our time.
Furthermore, for students not in their final year, particularly for those who are at risk of failing their current year of study, the Marking and Assessment Boycott will cause significant confusion surrounding progression. As a result, there is a significant risk of students missing deadlines to apply for resit assessments – this will undoubtedly have a major impact on their ability to complete their studies.
University staff are the backbone of our institutions and dedicate their working lives to supporting students, ensuring they can get the best out of their university experience. Over the years, their working conditions and pay have been eroded. In spite of this, and regardless of vastly increasing and, in some cases, unmanageable workloads, they have still gone above and beyond to support students, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We support the demands of the UCU as staff working conditions are students’ learning conditions. When staff are on precarious contracts, work long hours on pay that is decreasing in real terms year-on-year, and have ever-increasing workloads, students also feel the impact. These employment conditions affect the conditions in which students are learning in. It is decreasing the amount of time that teaching staff can spend one-on-one with students, decreases the quality of feedback students receive on their completed work, and does not allow time for the development of high-quality lectures and teaching sessions. This is being shown in NSS survey results, where there has been a significant decline in student satisfaction over the years when it comes to academic support, in areas such as receiving quality feedback from lecturers.
How can we expect the UK Higher Education system to be internationally-renowned and provide high quality support to students, whilst working conditions are being eroded year in, year out? The fact that University staff have had to take desperate measures to make their voices heard shows how badly change is needed.
We now urge UCEA to return to negotiations with UCU, and put forward an appropriate offer which represents the true value that staff bring to our universities up and down the country.
Students need this dispute to end, both to secure their degrees, and to improve the working and teaching conditions in the Higher Education sector.
Chloe Field, Vice President Higher Education, NUS UK
Nehaal Bajwa, Vice President Liberation and Equality, NUS UK
Ellie Gomersall, President, NUS Scotland
Chloe Ferguson, President, NUS-USI
Bernie Savage, Vice President Further Education, NUS UK
Orla Tarn, President, NUS Wales
Zaynab Ahmed, UG President, Cambridge Students' Union
Tomi Amole, Welfare and Campaigns Officer, Warwick Students' Union
Neve Atkinson, UG Access, Education and Participation Officer, Cambridge Students' Union
Omuwa Ayomoto, President, Students' Union at Bournemouth University
Charlotte Baker, President, Winchester Students' Union
Jack Ballingham, Opportunities Officer, Durham Students' Union
Pedram Bani Asadi, Co-President, University of Law Students' Union
Robbie Beale, Officer for Activities and Culture, University of Manchester Students' Union
John Beauchamp, LGBTQ+ Officer, Cardiff University Students' Union
Dan Bichener, President, Christ Church Students' Union
Nisha Bundhun, VP Wellbeing & Diversity, Students' Union Royal Holloway University of London
River Butterworth, Education Officer, University of Nottingham Students' Union
Elia Chitwa, Disabled Students' Officer, Cambridge Students' Union
Jade Cioffi, Union Development and Democracy Officer, Keele University Students' Union
Saskia Clubb, President, Oxford Brookes Students' Union
Orestis Collins-Alamanos, Vice President, Falmouth & Exeter Students' Union
Alastair Copland, VP Societies & Sports, Students' Union Royal Holloway University of London
Nera Cornell, Sports, Societies and Events Officer, Sussex Students' Union
Emma de Saram, VP Liberation and Equality, Exeter Students' Guild
Lina Dubbins, Sabbatical Officer, Liverpool Guild of Students
Gina Dunn, President, Cardiff University Students' Union
Sarah Elkady, Education Officer, University of Huddersfield Students' Union
Natalia Ellingham, Vice President Activities and Services, Edinburgh University Students' Association
India Ellis, Vice-President Union Development, Lancaster University Students' Union
Anna Fedotova, International and Community Officer, University of Sheffield Students' Union
Angie Flores Acuna, VP Postgraduate, Cardiff University Students' Union
Daisy Forster, Community Officer, University of Nottingham Students' Union
Joshua Freestone, Undergraduate Academic Officer, Durham Students' Union
Phil Green, Vice President, Falmouth & Exeter Students' Union
Georgi Griskeviciene, President Exeter, Falmouth & Exeter Students' Union
Tom Guilbert-Newell, Activities and Community Officer, Keele University Students' Union
Ella Hatch, Vice President, Liverpool Guild of Students
Hannah Hockin, President, Students' Union Royal Holloway University of London
Al Linforth, WSU President, Worcester Students' Union
Benjamin Lockley, Postgraduate Officer, University of Birmingham Guild of Students
Kathryn Manley, Deputy President, Liverpool Guild of Students
Acacia Matthews, President, University of Birmingham Guild of Students
Alex Meers, Vice President Heath Park, Cardiff University Students' Union
Erin Meharry, President, Liverpool Hope Students' Union
Aidan Moran, Campaigns and Engagement Officer, Queen's University Belfast Students' Union
Emma Murphy, Union President, Queen's University Belfast Students' Union
Sophia Nasif-Whitestone, LCC Officer, Arts Students' Union
Olumuyiwa Opaleye, President (for Societies and Communities), Edinburgh Napier Students' Association
Elise Page, Postgraduate Education Officer, University East Anglia Students' Union
Micaela Panes, VicePresident Postgraduate, Cardiff University Students’ Union
Phoebe Parr, Vice President: Activities and Employability, Oxford Brookes Students' Union
Liam Pem, Wellbeing Officer, Sussex Students' Union
Kieron Portbury, VP Equality & Diversity, Queen's University Belfast Students' Union
Lavanya Rajendran, Wellbeing and Community Officer, University of East London Students' Union
Rania Regaieg, President, The Students' Union at UWE
Jack Richardson, Faculty of Arts and Sciences President, Edge Hill Students' Union
Alison Romaine, Education Officer, University of Sheffield Students' Union
Izzy Russell, Student Living Officer, Bristol SU
Noah Russell, VP Education, Cardiff University Students' Union
Vasiliki Samuels, President, Liverpool Guild of Students
Sharanya Sivarajah, VP Education, Students' Union Royal Holloway University of London
Lauren Taylor, SU President Student Experience, Falmouth & Exeter Students' Union
Alice Tedds, Vice President Opportunities, Bath Spa Students' Union
Daisy Thomas, Welfare and Community Officer, Cambridge Students' Union
Noah Thorley, VP Education, Liverpool Hope Students' Union
Niamh Tickner, Student Living and Sustainability Officer, University of Sussex Students' Union
Emily Turvey, Faculty of Humanities Officer, University of Manchester Students' Union
Olivia Vann, Vice President Welfare and Community, Liverpool Hope Students' Union
Nathan Wyatt, Welfare, Community and Diversity Officer, University East Anglia Students' Union
Kwan Yuet Adora Wong, Vice President (Education), Aston Students' Union
Thank you to all of the students, staff and supporters who have signed this letter in solidarity!