I am writing to complain about how the University of Surrey is handling the University and College Union marking boycott. I am a final-year undergraduate and feel ashamed of the university that I have, up until now, loved attending.
It has come to my attention that Surrey feels it necessary to fully dock the wages of all participating staff and has even suggested that they stay at home or they may be sent home.
To send staff home without pay ensures that I not only receive no marks for work submitted, but also receive no feedback, have no access to their expertise for tutorials and, most importantly, have no lectures to attend.
I understand that the position Sir Christopher Snowden, Surrey’s president and vice-chancellor, holds as president at Universities UK would compromise Surrey’s ability to publicly condemn the upcoming changes to pensions, and nor would I expect it to condemn them; however, taking such a hard line against those who are participating in legitimate union action is a step too far.
I urge all involved to reconsider pay withdrawal and, if docking pay is deemed necessary, to ensure that it is done appropriately, ie, stopping an amount of pay that correlates with how much time is spent marking versus other roles – such roles are not voluntary and should still be paid as usual.
I will not be complaining about the lack of marking in my module evaluation questionnaires, but will do so in the National Student Survey. I can only hope that doing this will make it clear that I do not hold the lecturers responsible for taking part in valid industrial action, but rather that I hold the university and UUK responsible for not trying to come to an agreement and advocating what is in essence union-busting.
Final-year undergraduate, University of Surrey