University of Bristol rejects UCU demand to end ‘unnecessary’ in-person teaching


By Teddy Coward, Co-Editor-in-Chief

The University of Bristol has rejected calls from Bristol UCU for the ‘immediate cessation of unnecessary face-to-face, in-person teaching’, as the number of confirmed cases among staff and students continues to rise.

In a response to the Bristol UCU motion, which was passed last month, senior management from the University argued the measures in place across campus and teaching rooms, ‘mitigate as far as is possible the risks of face to face contact’.

The four-paged response, which included the signature of Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Judith Squires, also emphasized ‘that if any rooms are not felt to be an acceptable teaching space by teaching staff they can raise their concerns locally and the space will be looked at’.

In addition, the University stated ‘in-person education matters, including for the mental health and wellbeing of our students’.

The rejection of the UCU demands comes amidst an exponential rise in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases among the University community, with the total number of cases now standing at 656; 648 students and 8 members of staff.

Today’s figure is 126 cases more than yesterday and a rise of 260 cases since Monday.

Bristol UCU pass motion demanding all ‘unnecessary’ in-person teaching be moved online
All students in The Courtrooms placed into two week quarantine

In response, Bristol UCU have said the University’s decision ‘falls short of meeting [its] core demands’ and is holding an urgent meeting with the University leadership at 4:30pm tomorrow, 15 October.

Bristol UCU have reiterated that if the outcome of the meeting does not satisfy their requests, they would consider entering into a legal dispute with the University.

The teaching union did, however, praise the University’s decision to provide daily updates on the number of confirmed cases since Monday.

Featured Image: Lucy O’Neill

What do you think about Bristol University’s response to the UCU’s demands?