CUSU vote to BOYCOTT Student Satisfaction Survey

The decision was made at CUSU Council this evening.

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CUSU Council has voted to boycott the National Satisfaction Survey, which they deem an integral part of the Teaching Excellence Framework, something which will increase fees in the next few years. 

35 voted in favour, 3 voted against, with 4 abstentions.

After it was announced in December that Cambridge was to participate in the next stage of the Teaching Excellent Framework which would see fee increases for university students in the year future, CUSU issued a statement saying it would “oppose and frustrate the implementation of TEF 2.”

Last week, third-year students received an email asking to complete the NSS. CUSU issued temporary advice to boycott “for now” until a decision on official policy could be decided at CUSU Council.

After sending this advice, President Amatey Doku said that regardless of the decision made by CUSU Council, “CUSU will produce a full briefing paper to all students so that they know exactly what filling out the survey from this year on will mean for the fees of future students.”

Will the boycott actually work?

It is anticipated that after the decision made this evening, students will receive information about how to proceed with the boycott of the NSS.

Earlier in term, a University Spokesperson told The Tab ” Student feedback, such as from the NSS, plays a key role in improving the academic experience at Cambridge, and we encourage Cambridge students to take part in the Survey. It is important that students are aware that this year’s Survey results will not inform TEF2 ratings because the first ratings will only draw on earlier NSS results from 2014, 2015 and 2016.”

In his speech, Amatey said”We have policy standing to oppose the TEF and the way it is being introduced…. The national student survey is something which all finalists are asked to fill out every year. The data from that will be used in future years to inform fees”

He also made aware that, in light of the statement from the press office, that previous years of students will have filled in the survey unknowing that it would impact the TEF in the future. He argued that in boycotting, it would impact the Student Satisfaction Survey not immediately, but in the future when the university would be applying for Gold.

Amatey Doku and sabbatical officer Roberta Huldisch were in support of the boycott

If less than 50% of members fill out the survey, the results of the NSS are invalid. Therefore boycotting is a viable option. Oxford agreed to boycott the survey earlier this month.

Amatey said the most important is to educate the members about the link between the NSS and fee increase  – he argued that the NSS were not being transparent and educating students of this link clearly enough.

The resolves of this vote were, therefore, to actively encourage finalists to boycott, £250 of the budget dedicated to communicating this message to supporting this campaign, send email as soon as possible to explain the situation and clearly illustrating the link between the NSS.