UCL students express their sentiments to towards the strike action taking place across the country in an open letter to UCL Provost Michael Arthur
Dear Professor Arthur
We, the below signed, write in solidarity with the staff and academics at UCL who have chosen to strike from Monday 25th November.
On the surface, this action stands for fair, and equal pay, secured pensions, sustainable workload, and security against casualisation. But at its heart, it stands against the tide of higher education policy bent on treating universities more like listed companies than places of learning.
Education is a public benefit, not a consumer product. Universities are for teaching, not for profit. We are students of University College London. We are not customers of UCL plc. The reputation of British universities is not built on spires, cloisters, and libraries. Quality of scholarship is not measured in square feet, or number of classrooms. British universities stand upon the shoulders of those who teach within them – that our academics, support, and professional services staff are the life blood of one of the finest education systems in the world should be reflected in the pay, and working conditions they receive. Our future, and the future of higher-education in the United Kingdom, is in their hands.
Consequently, we feel that it is wrong for a university to – in the same breath – demand ever higher fees, but deny fair and equal pay. For a university to profit from its global reputation, but not support reasonable pensions. For university bosses to be paid FTSE CEO salaries, whilst our academics’ labour goes undervalued. For a university to fund buildings – more classrooms to fill with fee paying students – and not teachers, to teach them. For teaching time to give way to admin, for job security to give way to casualisation, for staff to be disregarded to the extent that their only choice is to damage their students’ education.
Whilst we reject the commercialisation of universities, we say that if a university wishes to sell an education to the highest bidder – cash for ‘Hons.’ – then that university must make good on its offer. It must protect the wellbeing of the people who actually provide that education. That we must be deprived of our education, of the ‘service’ that you, the university, should provide, is a gross failure.
We hope that both sides can come to terms that protect the future of British universities. That continue to attract the very best, treat them fairly, and pay them well. That reflect the importance of open, public education, and reject a ‘business model’ with flawed priorities. But if they cannot, then by this letter we give our full, unwavering support to all those who choose to strike – their welfare, is our welfare.
Jin Rong Koo
Laura Disley Justine Batura
Mei Yen Chang
Angelica Medici Hoyos
Roberto Antonio Cabera Y Rodriguez
To add your name to this open letter please email LLM Candidate Jack Sadler: