We, the students of the University of Sussex, ask the Vice Chancellor Michael Farthing to protect the academics and staff at the university against the Universities UK proposed changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme, which could result in drastic pension cuts for Academics and Staff.
This means campaigning on the side of the staff against Universities UK’s initiative and agreeing to negotiations between employers and employees.
In response to the Marking Boycott decided on November 6th, students ask that their rights be protected as well. Whilst we understand the position of Academics and Staff alike, we nevertheless feel like our best interests are being ignored.
As students, it is our right to feel that we are getting the most out of our education.
We have already opposed various times to the privatization schemes, our voice has been ignored.
We have massive debts and face increasing living costs, and once again, our voice has been ignored.
We now risk having no formally recognised assessment of our work, which we are here to produce and improve. The true aim of a higher education institution should be of ensuring that students receive all the necessary help and services, which allow them to efficiently conclude higher education studies.
The decision to Boycott marking influences us directly because it hinders the extent to which we receive appropriate feedback from our tutors, which is essential if we are to produce work that meet the standards not only of this institution but of future employers and further personal ambitions.
We refuse to be the victims of an unsustainable and profit driven education system and its respective schemes.
Our voices must not be oppressed and tutors’ work and dedication must be respected through wages and pension schemes that acknowledge their essential position as educators in higher education institutions.
Should the tutors decide to carry on with the proposed boycott, it should be the responsibility of the school offices to appoint and allocate appropriate members of the faculty to give us the feedback on our coursework that ultimately defines the mark that will forever reflect the outcome of an entire undergraduate degree.
It is our belief that the university management is indifferent to students’ satisfaction. If not for the genuine desire to satisfy the students throughout their courses of study, the management should at least consider the university’s standing in national ranking, and how events like these reflect poorly on the university. Needless to say the power to change the university’s rank is in the hands of the final year students of this year, who have endured various events that have been all but completely detrimental to their education. We as the students will be sure to reflect this experience in the upcoming NSS survey and various other means of reporting our university experience to prospective students who may think twice about selecting Sussex as a result of these negative experiences.
Laura Giovinazzi and Hannah Newton.