Bristol University Senate votes against motion to make online teaching the ‘default’ for TB1

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By Filiz Emily Gurer, News Editor

The University of Bristol’s Senate has voted against a motion calling for ‘online teaching [to] be the institutional default for Teaching Block 1’.

The results of the vote confirmed that 56 members of the Senate voted against the motion, 28 for the motion, with 6 members abstaining from voting all together.

The Senate consists of more than 100 members and is responsible to the University’s Board of Trustees for teaching and learning, as well as on-campus regulations.

Voting in the Senate meeting were Deans of faculties, Heads of Department, as well as undergraduate and postgraduate student representatives.

The Senate met at 15:30 to discuss the motion, which was the meeting’s sole item of business.

The decision of the Senate today comes after members of the UCU’s Bristol branch voted overwhelmingly on 10 November to declare a dispute with the University over the failure to move to default online teaching and to allow staff to teach online where appropriate.

With the motion today being unsuccessful in passing the Senate vote, it is yet to be seen how the UCU will respond.

The Senate meeting follows an update received from the University yesterday on what will happen once lockdown ends on 2 December.

In an email to students last night, Professor Sarah Purdy, Pro Vice-Chancellor, confirmed that all university teaching will move online between 3 to 9 December.

This period at the beginning of December has been labelled as the ‘student travel window’ by guidance issued by the Government on 11 November.

All University of Bristol teaching to move online from 3 December

The Senate meeting has taken place amidst growing concerns amongst some lecturers about the safety of staff and students in face-to-face teachings settings, even with the University’s assurance that mitigation measures in place are effective.

The UCU has been calling for a complete shift to online teaching since the beginning of term having set out its demands to the University’s senior management.

Correction: This article originally stated Bristol University Senate had voted against moving teaching online. This is inaccurate, as the motion instead called for online teaching to be made the 'institutional default'.

Featured Image: Epigram / Filiz Gurer


Do you agree with the way the Senate voted at the meeting today?

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