‘Don’t choose Edinburgh Uni’: Hundreds join protest against handling of marking boycott

‘If you want your children to have a good experience at the University of Edinburgh then it is not possible’

The rain didn’t stop yesterday’s protest in Bristo Square as around 150 staff, students, and families turned out to campaign against the University’s response and lack of negotiation surrounding the UCU’s Marking and Assessment Boycott, which has left around 2,000 students unable to graduate with any degree.

Taking to social media to organise the protest, student attempted to pressure the university’s senior management to  “meet UCU’s demands and end the Marking boycott”, as well as push for the resignation of Vice Chancellor Peter Mathieson.

Throughout the event, final-year speakers took to the megaphone to voice their anger and experience throughout their time at the University, telling the crowd how they have been left with no degree, lack of job stability, and lack of support as a result of the University’s lack of negotiation with the UCU.

Among the crowd, students and staff held up signs, stating “ScamED”, “GreED”, “Renegotiate Now” and “We are done with your lies, give your staff a pay rise”, chanting “5, 6, 7, 8 Renegotiate; 5, 4, 3, 2, we support the UCU”.

The protest comes after the marking boycott reaches its second month, with universities up and down the country, including the University of Edinburgh, failing to come to the negotiating table with UCU staff and bosses.

Amongst the speakers, they all voiced similar experiences and frustrations towards their lack of degree qualifications. One told the crowd “I would not encourage any future students to choose Edinburgh University”, whilst another shared a similar sentiment that “if you want your children to have a good experience at the University of Edinburgh then it is not possible”.

Another speaker said “I’m here because I am angry”, “This university has profited off of overseas students for years” and their funds are now simply lining the pockets of senior management.

Overall, speakers and students at the protest have voiced their frustration at the lack of negotiation by the University in settling the UCU’s marking and assessment boycott as well as the action taken over the past five years.

One student speaker said, “It is not senior management that makes the university…without students and staff, there is no university”.

What’s more, on the morning of the protest, staff at the University were sent an email from senior management outlining how the University has entered negotiation talks with the UCU, which the Union supports. However, the Edinburgh branch of the UCU has disputed the email, stating that it misrepresents the discussion and omits key asks.

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