Dear Vice-Chancellor, when will these strikes end?
Yours sincerely, a frustrated third year.
Unless you've been living under a rock this term, you'll know that our lecturers and university support staff are due to strike yet again over a pay and conditions dispute and the ongoing dispute around pensions.
Talking to other students about the upcoming strikes, I have found many who are unwaveringly supportive of our tutors, and some who aren't so much. Some don't really know what the strikes are about. But everybody I've spoken to has agreed on one thing. We are angry that these strikes are still having to happen.
As a third year student, I am bitterly angry about these strikes. My entire university career, for which I have paid almost £30,000, has had the threat of industrial action looming over it. In total, three semesters of my degree have been heavily disrupted as a result of industrial action. A total of 36 days have been taken from my degree. That’s roughly ten per cent of all the time I've had at university.
And what have I been offered in compensation? A couple of hundred quid. That's less than one per cent of the total cost of my degree.
I’m angry because the two modules I’m studying this term are the two modules I spent my university course most looking forward to. I’m angry because I have to write my dissertation on a topic I'm missing three weeks of teaching on. I’m angry because I’m paying £9250 a year for my education, and I'm not being educated.
But I’m not angry at the staff on the picket line. I’m angry at the university administration’s refusal to meet the demands of my tutors.
The University of Sussex hardly seems hard-up for cash. I mean, we’re all paying a minimum of £9,250 a year to be here. The university is building top-range accommodation faster than 8 year-old me playing Sims 3.
The university even managed to find spare cash in the budget to waste on putting seagull warning signs over campus. What’s the point in having a top of the range-campus, accommodation that resembles a Hilton hotel and a new library, if you can't find the money in the budget to pay teaching staff fairly?
You can splash however much cash you want on new accommodation, but you're not distracting anybody from the fact Sussex is plummeting down the league tables
I'm paying over nine grand a year to attend this university. For those of us not on a six figure salary (hello Vice-Chancellor), this is a hell of a lot of money. You can make my exams easier because of strikes and you can give me £100 as strike compensation. But I won't let this distract me from the fact that the university administration has so far failed me in the most significant reason I came to uni: to learn.
My understanding of the 'real world' is that if you don't do your job, you lose your job. The main job of the University administration is to make sure I receive an education. I am currently not receiving my education.
So, as a very stressed and anxious third year who has lost a huge amount of their degree to industrial action, Vice-Chancellor, I beg you to put an end to these strikes.