Glasgow students fear marking boycott will delay graduations and impact grad job offers

A spokesperson claims the university promises to minimize impact on students

Final year students have been left in turmoil over the impact the upcoming UCU marking boycott could have on the end of their degrees.

If final exams and dissertations are left unmarked, students will be unable to progress academically, leaving offers for postgrad degrees and grad schemes unfulfilled.

Furthermore, there are fears the strikes could affect June graduations, a logistical nightmare for travel and accommodation plans already in place for upcoming graduates.

The marking boycott is due to run from 20th April 2023, affecting 150 UK universities. UCU members are encouraged to cease all summative marking and associated assessment activities and duties (such as exam invigilation) until further notice.

In a student-wide email sent out this week Vice Principal of Glasgow Uni, Martin Hendry, promised to minimise the impact of the boycott on students.

He wrote: “The university is again taking all reasonable steps to ensure we meet our duty to students and that your learning experience is not impacted. We expect that all exams will take place this Spring as scheduled, and that no student will be prevented from progressing to the next stage of their degree, or graduating, because of industrial action.”

Despite this, students are still uncertain about the potential impact the marking boycott could have.

Emily Bell, a fourth year English Literature student at Glasgow Uni feels uncertain of her future in light of this further action.

“The upcoming marking boycott is incredibly frustrating not only for students but for staff as well, having to let down their students,” she said.

“As a fourth year student myself its pretty nerve wracking to think this may affect my graduation date and time.”

Emily, who is due to begin a Master’s in media communications and international journalism this October at the University of Glasgow, fears the impact of the boycott could impact her postgrad offer.

Emily added: “I have faith the uni and the staff won’t let anyone’s plans be completely screwed up by the strikes and boycotting, however I’m still worried about whether my Master’s will allow me onto the course without having my academic record and graduation certificate by July.

Emily fears the impact the boycott could have on her postgrad offer

“As I’m still at Glasgow I hope they will be understanding about it. However I fear there is a risk they might ask me to defer.”

Whilst the university hopes to minimise the impact of the boycott, students believe the university could be doing more to support both staff and students.

Emily suggested: “The fact that they’ve let it get this far, to the point where students have had to stress about tackling assignments alone due to the strikes, and the delay in marking is pretty terrifying.

“Something’s got to give. Whilst the majority of students do support the strikes 100%, it’s becoming a bit of a joke now that our education’s been affected this much, especially my cohort.”

In the same letter Professor Martin Hendry, encouraged UCU members to contemplate the ramifications further action could have for students: “The University is disappointed that further action has been called and we have written to all UCU members to ask them to consider the impact of this action on students. 

“We do not know exactly how many people will take part in the boycott, however in previous years it has been a minority of staff, and we have been able to mitigate against any widespread disruption to student learning and assessment.”

Whilst teaching can take place as normal, coursework can be collected but must refrain from being marked.

This action is due to be carried out to dispute both pay conditions and the USS pensions dispute.

This follows a previous 15 days of strike action which took place in February and March this year.

The issues raised in this article were put to Glasgow University but the university did not respond to our request for comment.

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