It’s welcome news that teaching and exams will go ahead as planned in this final term of the academic year. The acceptance of the proposal that aims to resolve the USS pension dispute means that industrial action is suspended.
The industrial action last term had an impact on everyone across campus and many of you have contacted me or your department to ask for refunds and compensation. You’ve told us about situations where, for example, you spent money on travel to attend lectures or organised childcare and when you arrived, the class didn’t take place.
Where we were aware that teaching was not going to take place because of strike action, we tried to notify students as soon we could, but letting people know in advance, or even on the day wasn’t always possible. I’m sorry if you arrived for teaching and, because of the strike, it didn’t take place.
Some of you have also explained that paying for things like travel or childcare to enable you to attend classes that then didn’t take place has put you in a difficult financial position. We want to ensure that students affected in this way are not financially disadvantaged so, in consultation with the Students’ Union, we have established the Industrial Action Hardship Fund.
The Fund is available to all affected students who incurred unnecessary costs as a result of the strike action. More information on what you can claim for and how to apply is available here
While the Fund will be used to cover costs incurred, fees are not based on a per lecture or per tutorial basis and the College will not compensate students for teaching activity that did not go ahead. Although some classes may not have gone ahead, steps are being taken to ensure that the learning outcomes of courses are met and, throughout the strike, support services, such as the Student Services Centre and the Careers & Employability Service, and learning resource centres such as the library and CeDAS were available as normal.
To ensure that students’ academic progression or classification is not disadvantaged or penalised by the action, we have adjusted exam papers, where necessary, and will be profiling marks for course units and candidates at exam boards.
The UCU ballot result and the suspension of industrial action means that lectures, seminars and assessments will take place as planned – here’s to a successful final term.
Professor Paul Layzell