Leicester students will overwhelmingly blame the Vice Chancellor and Executive Board if the staff’s industrial action disrupts their education a poll on social media has found.
The poll conducted on Twitter and several Facebook groups found that 87% of students will blame the Vice Chancellor if the industrial action disrupts their education, with 6% blaming staff, and 6% blaming both.
Another poll backed up the Students’ Union’s stance of supporting the industrial action with 76% supporting the staff’s right to take industrial action and 19% opposing.
Mia Nembhard, President of the Students’ Union stated: “It’s interesting to see such polarising results but reaffirming that the majority, even after a poor year can show compassion to the action that UCU members have taken.”
Adding: “As a union, UCU has every right to take action when members are at risk and as your union we look to mitigate and take action against anything that compromises the student experience”.
Deep Sohelia who supports the staffs right to strike even if it significantly disrupts his education stated: “The uni’s finances are crumbling and instead of using any of the money that is already present to deal with it, the Executive Board and the VC are attacking staff to make up for it.”
Friday 14 May marked an escalation in the redundancy dispute as the University accused the UCU of ‘smearing’ them and the Leicester UCU branch said that the University’s Executive had ‘declared war on our community’.
Strike action by staff looms ever closer as neither side looks likely to back down, but students are concerned that this potentially could cause significant disruption to their education.
Daisy Anne Connolly stated: “[I don’t support the strikes] if the disruption means that my marks are not returned in time to be accepted into my PGCE.
“My final year marks are needed to guarantee my place. (I’m seeing that some marks are scheduled to be given back in October which is way too late). Otherwise yes, I’m always behind the strikes.”
The Students’ Union support the current industrial action and are “publicly calling on the University to prioritise students, display good will and bring the conversation back to the table with UCU to resolve this dispute.”
They continue: “However our current support of the ASOS may change if student awarding outcome deadlines are compromised.”
Leicester UCU tweeted: “Together, staff and students constitute @uniofleicester. We are the University! The support of students and @LeicesterUnion is so important – and we must always reciprocate. Staff working conditions = student learning conditions.”
Deep believes that: “the only solution is to demand a complete reconstitution of the university so that it can be democratic and run for the direct benefit for the people who actually use the university – the staff (academic and non-academic) and students.”
A University of Leicester spokesperson said: “It is regrettable that the UCU has proceeded with strike action. We are doing all we can to make sure that the impact of this action is minimised for our students.
“Our focus remains on supporting our students returning to campus, ensuring current students can complete their assessments for this academic year and that our finalists can graduate and achieve the results they deserve.”
Toby Cray is a second-year journalism student. You can find him on Twitter here
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