‘I need my actual grades’: Glasgow Uni students plan protest at tomorrow’s ‘sham’ ceremony

It will be the first graduation ceremony taking place at a Russell Group university since the marking boycott began

Students graduating from Glasgow University have told The Tab Glasgow they plan to protest against the unclassified degrees they have been given by the university.

Political and social science students will protest the lack of degree classifications and the university’s decision to cease negotiations with the UCU tomorrow from 1.40pm onwards outside the main gate.

Before the ceremony begins, the protesting students will take a stand outside the university gates in their gowns holding placards. The Tab Glasgow can reveal some protesters will silently wear placards around their necks to collect degree parchments as well.

Around half of the sociology graduates are expected to participate in some form of the protest. Organisers have told The Tab Glasgow that this protest aims to show ceremony attendees “how they feel”.

Jess – one of the organisers of the student protest – is a sociology student graduating tomorrow without knowing her degree classification. She said “it’s an absolute kick to the teeth” that her certificate will only say “qualified” on it.

She added: “Currently I have only received two out of five exam results back which is why they have been unable to award me with my actual classification. This is honestly so heartbreaking for me as I feel like I put so much effort into this year whilst also having to deal with being diagnosed with ADHD at the beginning of third year.

“We’re basically protesting the university’s decision not to negotiate with the UCU and how this feels like the university is making a stance at the expense of students.”

An example of the only classification many students have received

The University of Glasgow told The Tab Glasgow that it expects all students to graduate on time and that they will work with any graduates who receive an unclassified degree individually. The uni said all submitted work will be marked as soon as possible.

Law and business graduations are also taking place tomorrow, with students from those subjects also affected by the lack of grades back.

Oscar, a final year law student, has received his degree classification and will get a certificate tomorrow. However, he has not yet received all his assessments back yet, saying how “embarrassing” it was that the university has “let the situation get this far”.

Another student, taking common law accelerated, stated she had been given qualification with distinction, though due to unmarked assessments, this may be subject to change based on to-be-received grades.

She said: “I do feel a bit anxious about losing my qualification. As I’m going to qualify in another country, I need my actual grades to go about that process.”

A final student took aim at the university, accusing tomorrow’s graduation of being a “sham ceremony for most”.

A University of Glasgow spokesperson said: “We regret the UCU is taking industrial action, but the vast majority of staff continue to work normally and the University is doing everything to keep disruption to students to a minimum.

“We are committed to ensuring that the highest academic standards are maintained while ensuring that no student is prevented from progressing to the next stage of their degree, or graduating, because of the UCU action.”

A UCU Glasgow Committee spokesperson said how “frustrated” the union were on behalf of students. They explained to The Tab Glasgow last week that “students deserve better after four years of hard work”.

They said: “We’re also frustrated that we have had very limited mechanisms for talking to students about what’s happening. Nonetheless, we urge students to talk to their student representatives and write to the principal calling on him to publicly pressure UCEA to return to the negotiating table – the only way we can return to normal and get students the degrees they rightly demand – a request that he rejected when we met him last week to discuss the boycott.”

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