By Ellie Brown, News Subeditor
A petition has now been launched demanding that students be refunded for missed teaching time
Bristol Student’s Union (SU) has stated that it is not advocating for tuition fee reimbursements for students affected by this year’s staff strikes, despite the emergence of a petition by students demanding compensation.
In a statement, the SU revealed that it is not ‘actively advocating’ for students to receive refunds if their learning has been impacted by the strikes, was posted on its website as part of a response to FAQs about the upcoming industrial action.
Instead of encouraging students to seek compensation, the Union stated that it will be working with the University to mitigate the effects of strikes on students’ learning and ensure that those who are affected are not disadvantaged in assessments.
One of the main reasons for the SU’s position is that it claims that students would only receive a small amount of money - ‘less than £10 per head’ - if withheld pay from lecturers is given directly back to them, as tuition fees go on ‘much more’ than lecturers’ salaries. They, instead, state that pooling the money and spending it on ‘alternative educational experiences and services’ is more likely to provide a ‘greater benefit to the student body.’
Though it will not be encouraging students to claim financial compensation, the SU stated that students do have the right to do this - though only ‘if the University doesn’t make proper arrangements to make up for the impact of the strike.’
This comes following the news yesterday evening that a petition has been launched on change. org calling for the University to reimberse students for the teaching time that will be lost during the planned strike period.
Also included in the SU’s statement were some of the key findings of its consultation with students following the November/December 2019 strikes. Those who took part in the consultation showed a ‘strong preference’ for withheld pay from the strikes to be spent in ways that would ‘benefit current students who have been impacted by the industrial action.’
There was also agreement that these should be ‘primarily academic and wellbeing activities.’ However, further details on how withheld pay will be spent were not given by the SU after Epigram contacted them for comment.
The full set of FAQs and strike information on the SU’s website can be found here: https://www.bristolsu.org.uk/strikes
A link to the petition can be found here: https://www.change.org/p/university-of-bristol-bristol-university-compensate-students-for-strike-action?recruiter=918588696&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=share_petition&utm_term=share_petition&fbclid=IwAR1Wexp-psPtDUjhsWkSH19OWgSgS0B2J42Zr4v0TBza8BupOKhqenn8lKs
Featured Image: Epigram/Patrick Sullivan
Do you think students should receive compensation for the strikes? Let us know!