Liverpool Uni says it is ‘unlawful’ for students to join lecture strikes
The email encourages students to cross the picket line
The University of Liverpool sent out an email on Friday afternoon to all students regarding the strike this week and threatened students not to join any strikes.
The email also encouraged students to cross picket lines in order to make it to their lectures. If they do not, they will be marked as absent and it will affect their attendance record.
The section entitled "picketing and attendance at teaching sessions" said: "Please be aware that it is unlawful for students to join pickets. If you choose to not cross a picket line, and not attend teaching sessions for which you are registered, you will be marked as absent which will have an effect on your attendance record, in line with your school's policy on attendance."
The email, sent by the university, was posted on twitter as students were enraged by the "shameful" threat to cross the picket lines.
Ché, the third year History and Sociology student who posted the tweet, told The Liverpool Tab: "I actually only became aware of the email whilst I was leafletting for the strikes as people were asking me if I'd seen it.
"Personally, it made me feel more determined, but it really worried me as I started to get responses from those I was handing leaflets to, saying they couldn't risk joining the picket.
"There's a culture of bullying emerging from management at the university. This has already been seen with the way Unite Support Staff have been treated, and now UCU staff. Intimidating rhetoric is the easiest way to dial down the student support for the strikes and the university know that what they've said will impact the numbers on the picket line.
"The UCU staff at the uni are over-worked and under-appreciated. We pay almost nine and a half grand to be at this university, if our money isn't going to proper working conditions for staff we need to start questioning where it is going."
First year Sociology and Social Policy student, Carly, who replied to the tweet, expressed her opinion on the matter: "The email was very intimidating to be honest. I read it a few times with another student and we were both concerned as we really wanted to support the strike. But we were obviously then worried about getting into trouble.
"However once I had got confirmation that it was in fact just bullying from the university, it has made me even more determined to show my support.
"I do always feel that a lot of students will have just got that email and won't support the strikes through fear."
A University of Liverpool spokesperson told The Liverpool Tab: "We are committed to supporting our students throughout industrial action and ensuring they have accurate information.
"We undertake regular monitoring of all undergraduate student attendance. This is not only to ensure we fulfil our duties on international student visas to UKVI, but is also vital as attendance is an important indicator of student wellbeing.
"Monitoring information enables us follow up patterns of non-attendance with students so that we can provide them with appropriate support, should they need it. As such, attendance monitoring must continue throughout industrial action and it is important that our international students are aware of this.
"We respect our students' rights to support the industrial action, should they wish to do so. However it is important that they have the necessary information to do so lawfully. Whilst there are some good sources of information on this, including in UCU materials, we were made aware of inaccuracies from other sources which we sort to clarify."