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Disabled students should buy their way across picket lines, according to CUSU

Raising serious questions about CUSU’s strike advice


A recent post from the CUSU Disabled Students' Campaign Facebook page has encouraged disabled students not to attend faculty lectures, seminars, and supervisions on strike days even though "the strike has the potential to be more detrimental to disabled students in trying to 'catch up' with missed work or teaching".

This line is consistent with the Students' Union's overall approach to strike action: students are encouraged not to cross picket lines, and those who continue to use university services risk failing to support their lecturers.

However, in a recent Facebook post, the campaign offered advice on what students should do if crossing the picket line.

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A screenshot from the UCU strike Facebook page.

CUSU Disabled Students' Campaign acknowledges that most side entrances to University buildings are not accessible or suitable for many disabled students.

Their resolution to this problem is to suggest that disabled students crossing the physical picket lines "may wish" to bring "hot drinks or snacks" in order to show solidarity with the strikers. The implications of this are that students should buy their way across the picket lines.

Even if this is not the intention of the post, it places a degree of guilt upon students who feel it necessary to attend lectures, particularly disabled students that cannot use "discreet entrances".

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CUSU have been highly active in their support of UCU.

This is the most recent episode in a series of CUSU strike advice communications that have raised concerns among students. The Tab's Daniella Cugini has discussed the mental health impact of the unflinching pressure on students not to go to lectures on strike days in her column.

In addition, some students are reportedly feeling demonised by their peers for attending lectures and supervisions, with the term 'scab' allegedly being used on a number of occasions to describe students who cross the picket line. Though CUSU's advice has never been so aggressively worded in its support of the strike, tensions have been heightened as the potential effects of the strike are becoming more and more apparent.