Image may contain: Urban, Human, Person, Graduation

Lecturer slams Cardiff Uni’s graduations where students will receive ‘bargain basement degrees’

The senior lecturer accused the uni of ‘trashing academic standards’ if they hire external staff to mark assessments

This comes after the university announced it is considering hiring external staff to mark student assessments in light of the ongoing marking boycott.

Dr Andy Williams, a senior lecturer in the School of Journalism and a Cardiff UCU representative, said that the uni is “trashing academic standards” by hiring external staff instead of giving the lecturers their union demands.

On April 20th, the University and College Union (UCU) began a nationwide marking and assessment boycott.

The boycott, which has the potential to last until September under the current mandate, has led to concerns amongst final year students regarding whether their assessments will be marked this summer.

The university has said that final year students will still graduate this year despite the impacts of the marking boycott, meaning students may not receive a confirmed award of their degree at the ceremonies.

Cardiff University also said there are plans in place such as hiring external markers using existing administrative staff to mark exams.

These methods have led to criticism from Dr Williams who said it “de-values degrees and places students in a very risky and uncertain position.” He also accused the university’s vice chancellors of “throwing staff and students under the bus.”

In full, senior lecturer and Cardiff UCU media spokesperson, Dr Andy Williams said: “Universities up and down the country, Cardiff Uni included, are more interested in trashing academic standards to break the assessment boycott than giving staff a fair deal on pay and atrocious working conditions.

“They’re now also throwing students under the bus in the process and that’s just tragic.They tried to bully staff with 50-100 per cent pay deductions for taking part in the legal industrial action. When they saw that wasn’t going to work they turn to dishing out bargain basement degrees and selling students short.

“Possible mitigations we’ve heard are being considered include getting student work marked by non-specialists who didn’t teach them on their modules or design their assessments, and watering down exam board regulations so that students are given degrees with missing grades. These things would de-value degrees and place students in a very risky and uncertain position.

“In essence, the vice chancellors are throwing both staff and students under the bus to avoid finally ending this five-year long dispute. As staff, we want desperately to get back to work and grade assignments. They could end this tomorrow by giving us a god deal and getting around the table. The ball’s in their court.”

The Cardiff Tab contacted Cardiff University for statement but they did not reply by time of publication.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

Cardiff University lecturers announce another 15 days of strikes before the end of year

Cardiff students will graduate with missing marks as uni maintains ceremonies will go ahead

Cardiff Uni calls marking boycott ‘unfair’ but won’t withhold 100 per cent of lecturers’ pay