Dear City Students,
First, please allow me to recap on the UCU (University and College Union) strike against the proposed pension cuts that took place in 65 universities across the country including at City on the following days: 22-23 Feb, 26-28 Feb, 5-8 March, 12-16 March.
At the Students’ Union, we believe that fairly rewarded staff are the cornerstone of the university experience and all staff at City should have access to a range of benefits including a good pension scheme. I know that many of you have shown an astonishing level of support towards the striking staff members (such as #CitySitIn, student delivery of music performances and hot drinks & snacks to the picket lines, and other words & actions of support towards the striking staff) which, I am sure, they have greatly appreciated. Also, the Student Senators (which include myself, Malek and Zulkaif, your sabbatical officers) didn’t attend the Senate (senior governing body that deals with the most important academic matters at City which meets once a term) on 7th March (one of the strike days) in solidarity with the striking Elected Senators (reps of your academics). We’ve done so since we consider that it would be unfair to make academic decisions without academic staff being present in the room. Our actions have directly resulted in the Senate being called-off due to the inability to reach quorum.
On the other hand, the strike which is essentially directed against the privatisation and marketisation of the Higher Education sector, has had a severe impact on student experience. Some students were more affected than others at City, for instance, such courses like Journalism, Politics, Adult, Mental Health & Child Nursing, Mathematics, etc. Overall the following approximate figures reflect the impact of the strike at City (proportion of cancelled teaching activities within the Schools out of all sessions that were scheduled): 45% within the School of Arts and Social Sciences, 25% - Law, 12% - School of Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering, 9% - School of Health Sciences, 4% - Cass. Not enough has been done by City to minimise the negative impact on the academic experience of students due to the strike (starting with the lack of actions that could have actually helped to resolve the dispute in the first instance).
Many of the affected students are of the opinion that their consumers’ rights were violated since they didn’t receive the service they’ve paid for. Some also worry about the short-term and long-term consequences of these disruptions to their education such as the amount of untaught material and missing the ability to acquire the associated skills, impact on their academic performance, not-postponed deadlines of assignments, the chance of having untaught material at exams, potential problems with professional accreditation, future employability implications, etc.
At the same time, in its FAQs about the strike (www.city.ac.uk/current-students/strike-faqs), City has pledged that no student will be academically disadvantaged. It does not look like that is the case at the moment. Therefore, the affected students should submit complaints and demands to the university within 28 days delay stipulated as per university procedure.
Therefore, the Union is organising a series of drop-in sessions for students to assess the impact of the strike on students, give advice on complaints procedure and discuss the desired outcomes of this situation for students.
The drop-in sessions will take place between 3 and 5 pm in the Student Hub (Students’ Union, Level 1, Tait Building) on the following two Mondays: 19th and 26th March. If these times do not work for you, please do get in touch with me (SUPresident@city.ac.uk) so I could provide you with further guidance and/ or arrange alternative times.
I am looking forward to seeing you and talking to you soon.