Full time masters students have missed a significant amount of our degree courses due to the four weeks of UCU strike action. Depending how weekly timetables aligned with strike action, some students have missed almost the entirety of four weeks taught sessions. Most modules have covered only the first introductory weeks, and are now left with only a couple of sessions post-strike. Continued ‘work-to-rule’ action understandably carried out by UCU is compounding this impact, as is the decision taken in some modules to resume teaching as scheduled with no consideration to missed content. This has decimated the learning experience of Semester 2, and whilst I hope the effect on academic progression will be minimised, the detriment to our overall experience at masters level has been substantial.
In this post I will set out two actions that should have an impact; cancelling direct debits for tuition fee payments, and following your university’s formal complaint procedures. I fully support the staff that are striking, and applying this pressure to the university management surely supports their cause. I know many lecturers have encouraged students to complain to university management since the strikes began, so even if you can’t be bothered cancelling your direct debit or even making an official complaint, please support the staff that work to support you by emailing that address and making your feelings known.
University of Manchester students: This is an improved version of a post I made in the excellent ‘Take Action! UoM‘ Facebook group this morning. They have loads of great material, including templates to apply for mitigating circumstances for this semester’s assigned work. They are holding a meeting this Thursday at 6pm, Squirrels Bar, Owen’s Park Campus, Fallowfield. There is also a dedicated group for those intending to withhold their final instalment that has been started today, who have been kind enough to add me as a group admin.
Whilst undergraduates cannot withhold tuition fee payments made directly to the university from student finance, they can still take advantage of the official complaints procedure, so please encourage any undergraduate housemates etc to do so. I intend to write a follow up post aimed at undergraduates soon.
Withholding tuition fee payments until UCU strike compensation is agreed
As postgraduates, we are in a stronger position than most students as we pay our tuition fees directly. We can both withhold the final tuition fee instalment until an agreement is reached, and pursue formal complaints, with the option to refer each individual complaint to the Ombudsman service should your university not resolve the matter to your satisfaction. Universities Minister Sam Gyimah has repeated yesterday he expects all universities to compensate students, but Manchester are among the majority, as yet, refusing to entertain the idea of compensation.