Sussex student’s thoughts on ditching ex-gratia scheme

“They are stealing from us”


Earlier this week, The University of Sussex announced to its students that they currently do not intend to compensate students for their missed teaching during the period of industrial action earlier this year.

Naturally, you had a lot to say about the matter. The Sussex Tab put up an Instagram poll asking for you guys to tell us if you were upset or not and ninety-one per cent of you voted that you were angry and wanted the compensation.

The poll result had a clear winner but it did mean that nine per cent of you were not actually too bothered about not being compensated. But with the majority of Sussex students pissed off, we asked for your thoughts. Here is what you had to say:

‘The definition of disappointed but not surprised’

A few of you suggested that you actually saw this coming with the University’s delayed response. One student responded with: “The definition of disappointed but not surprised.” Another student suggested that because we already pay so much, it would be impossible to get fully compensated anyway, they said: “They gave us back very little money for what we were paying anyway.”

Another student put their feelings towards it bluntly, they said: “To be honest, I didn’t expect anything else.”

Students feel as though they are being ‘robbed’

Many students replied to us saying they feel cheated, robbed and they feel as though the University is stealing from them. One student said: “It feels like we’re being robbed of the compensation that we’re more than entitled to receive.”

Similarly, another student told The Sussex Tab that this is “A fucking joke.” With there only being three whole weeks of teaching this term, lots of students feel as though they deserve more than a couple of hundred pounds anyway.

One student responded: “It is ridiculous, students need to get some sort of compensation for this entire mess.” Similarly another student responded with: “We didn’t sign up for an online course, we didn’t get what we paid for. They are stealing from us.”

Another student suggested that VC Adam Tickell should take another pay cut to “subsidise our compensation” if the University is not able to offer students compensation for the February strikes.

The Sussex Tab insta took to memeing to deal with the situation

Most people were annoyed because high up staff get paid a lot

One student worked out the teaching they had missed in total, they told The Sussex Tab: “As a result of staff striking, I missed out on 16 out of 21 hours of teaching. Despite promises to not include lost topics in Assessment Period 2, my core and elective modules both featured the topics that were not taught as a result of industrial action…I believe reimbursement, even if partial, will have a positive impact on student mentality and faith in the university leadership. The ex-gratia scheme that was established after the Autumn industrial action made me proud to be part of Sussex as the stand-alone university that was exceptional to reimburse students.

The email received described a considerably poor excuse for no ex-gratia scheme, and the news of the Vice Chancellor’s meagre pay cut of ten per cent with the sacking of many staff members on casual contracts does not illustrate where our money has been going.”

Another student explained that they find it ridiculous that students are expected to pay the University a full term of tuition fees, they responded: “I think it’s completely ridiculous that there’s been no compensation to students this year…it is even more ridiculous in the sense that we were still expected to pay uni the full terms tuition. Even though strikes effected at least five weeks of teaching and then the last four weeks were converted online. I’m quite surprised the university isn’t giving anyone any compensation.”

People are confused where the money that they’re paying is going to

“I’m literally so fucking confused with Sussex saying ‘oh we can’t refund the strike tuitions right now’ because their argument is that ‘we need the money now for moving to online resources and educators’. What about all the money you spared for facilities maintenance? Besides services and dorms the campus is closed where does that money fucking go??? If you are really doing good shit with your money how do we get teachers strike every fucking year that we couldn’t even get a refund until now??? Use the fucking money which you stole for our tuitions fee instead Mr Chancellors.”

“It’s absolutely insane that the uni can say that they don’t have to give us ex-gratia because of Coronavirus even though the strikes happened months before lockdown. We were told we would receive it and now they’re pulling out. The uni can’t expect to win us over by saying that they’re the good guys by being one of the only University’s providing ex-gratia. If Universities are to be marketed as a commercial experience then people are entitled to money back when services aren’t provided. This is even more ridiculous considering the strikes were for gender pay inequality and pensions, issues that shouldn’t even exist in this day and age and especially at Sussex.”

Some students kept their anger more simple

One student simply said: “What the fuck. I am outraged.”

Someone else said that “Sussex Uni is built on greed.” Whilst another student called it “fucking bullshit.”

Another student said that it all comes down to the “shit University management.”

Some students said not everyone needs the money

The counter argument was that people do not necessarily need the money, one student told The Sussex Tab: “not everyone needs it. I’m currently having to use the hardship fund to get by . I’m just grateful I have this safety net when many haven’t. If you need to, apply for the hardship fund. I just struggle to have sympathy for people complaining about this: why should every single student, regardless of financial situation, get a one-off ex-gratia, when even the hardship fund is not guaranteed?”

Another student expressed their concerns, saying that “I don’t want the University to go bankrupt.”

Some food for thought.

The Sussex Tab has approached the University for comment.

There’s now a petition demanding strike compensation going round.