Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Support the UCU's Marking Boycott - a letter to students..

Students may be aware, a dispute is currently taking place between university management and the staff’s union (UCU) over the unreasonable and unjustifiable job cuts, which could see our tutors sacked in the hundreds (yes, this is a big deal).

If tutors and admin staff go that means larger classes; less time with tutors; overworked and stressed tutors; overall, a dwindling quality of education.

To top this all off it will be taking place alongside a backdrop of rising fees. Do these university ‘bosses’ take us for fools? They want to take away what little time and attention we get from our lecturers and make us pay for the pleasure, like it’s some kind of perk! Two words: ludicrous, nonsensical.

To find out why the planned job cuts are illogical and not ‘necessary’ read the Fight Cuts at Westminster Blog here:

So, to fight for a decent future in Higher Education we must stand in solidarity with our lectures - now before it’s too late - and any action they take to save their jobs and fundamentally our - and the following generations - educations

On May 5th lecturers went out on strike to withdraw their labour and send shockwaves to management, making them aware that compulsory redundancies will not be taken lightly, and too right!

To follow on from that, some of our lecturers will be taking part in ‘Action Short of Strike’ which was overwhelmingly voted for in the latest UCU ballot.

This action began recently on March, 21, and means that tutors will be boycotting marking exams and coursework for a short while causing slight disruption in the marking process.

This is one of the only ways to reinforce to management how important tutors are within the education system, without them it simply wouldn’t work. It almost seems if management had their way they’d cut back on staff entirely; leaving us no resources other than books, but they’d still take our money!

The boycott may mean getting your results back a little late, and yes, is a pain! But, UCU has been left with no other option; they’ve been in negotiations with management for months now and results have been fruitless. This ‘action’ really is the last resort.

Please join us in supporting our lecturers through this time and hopefully together we have a better chance at saving the future of higher education..

Fight Cuts at Westminster

1 comment:

  1. I have been with the University of Westminster for 7 years,
    as a part time mature student, studying Electronic Engineering.

    I have witnessed the development of the Cavendish campus electronics, software and IT departments,
    including investments in large new laboratories and computer rooms,
    all essential for students as these rooms are normally at maximum capacity all through the year
    (and it is increasingly difficult to find a quiet place to work or a free computer terminal).
    Classes have generally become larger and noisier throughout my time at Cavendish campus,
    in the last 4 years or so.

    I have also been working part time as a support worker for disabled students of the university,
    taking notes and helping in the library with their studies.
    Therefore I have been present in many lectures outside the Electronics department and Cavendish campus,
    where I study, and I have witnessed the same problems with class numbers elsewhere.

    I am certain that any departmental reduction in staff numbers, without a corresponding reduction in student numbers,
    will damage the quality of education that has apparently been a long tradition at the university
    (my father was a student at the Regent street campus, previously the Regent Street Polytechnic,
    during his architecture degree in the 1970's; he speaks highly of the previous institution as it once stood).

    Furthermore, in regards to Cavendish campus,
    it is illogical and redundant to make cuts to the ECS department staff,
    after such significant investment in the resources of laboratories and computers.
    Quite the opposite should be in order. Expansion of the discipline and its academic rigor!
    If students are failing the courses it is because of the high level that they demand.
    Electronics, engineering and the sciences are not intended to be "easy" degrees to obtain.
    It is actually the opposite as I have discovered! (what else?)

    If the university board decides to make its drastic cuts,
    I fear that they will play a part in the downfall of the UK's role in Electronics and Computer Science.
    We should not forget the likes of the first computer scientist, Charles Babbage,
    and the great British computing engineers, mathematicians & inventors that followed him,
    such as the great Paul Dirac who developed Quantum Mechanics,
    and whom have all contributed to developing the most important technologies of the 20th century,
    helping to bring about the digital age that the world is now experiencing.

    Standing against these cuts is to stand for the institutions and practices that make the UK a place of academic excellence,
    steeped in the history of human achievement.
    We as the British people do not want to lose that legacy and privileged position in the world.

    A J Golland, BEng Electronic Engineering,
    University of Westminster, 17 June 2010.