‘People who want refunds are ridiculous’: York students react to upcoming strikes

Many want the university to provide compensation


If you are a second or third year at York strikes are not something new and following the announcement from UCU that 74 universities will be striking later this term, University of York included, we spoke to a range of students to find out what they really think about the upcoming strikes.

Sophie, third year, History

“While I fully understand and sympathise with the academics and their valid reasons for wanting to strike, the upcoming industrial action comes at a crucial time for third years…with the commodification and move to commercialised higher education, universities now run at a profit to sell a product rather than a provision of a service. In this climate, this means academics and students alike are out under financial pressure. So that is why I believe we should be be able to access reimbursements for the loss of contact hours we pay more. This is of course a very complex issue is not one that is going to go away but the affect this is having on students who are paying for a service that isn’t being provided with no real way we can do anything about it isn’t good enough.”

Sam, second year, History and Politics

“I think the strikes are just quite disruptive, especially for humanity students where the lecturers tend to be strikers. Strikes mean that I’ve missed out on a lot of hours of work and I think the university should provide some form of compensation considering how expensive it is to go to uni.”

Lily, first year, English Literature

“I know a lot of first years are quite annoyed about these second wave of strikes as lectures that we get assessed on at the end of next term are being cancelled with no attempts to reschedule or guarantees that lecture slides will be available. Obviously we understand that the strikes are important and probably needed but it seems as though they’re coming at a very inconvenient time. Feel so sorry for third year students.”

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A York student showing their support at the last UCU strike

Aintainé, second year, History

“I just think it’s a bit ridiculous and selfish that so many students are asking for refunds when in reality it’s very unlikely they are going to fully pay off their student loans anyway. Just makes a lot more sense to support those striking and prevent the exploitation [of academic staff], especially considering we’re all in this together.”

Ellen, first year, English Literature

“I understand why lecturers feel the need to strike and I respect that. It’s just frustrating that we as students are affected the most yet we aren’t in control of pay and pensions. I am a bit concerned because I have upcoming essays but I feel for third years more!”

Belle*, first year, Archaeology

“Lecturers are striking for very valid reasons. They are extremely hardworking and dedicate their lives to research and providing us with a degree which allows us to begin our careers. Yes, we pay thousands of pounds to be at university, however, the lecturers do not see a fraction of the money they should be earning. We should be supporting them rather than requesting our money back. If we as students put all of our effort into requesting compensation rather than supporting the lecturers right to strike for what they deserve, then we are just as money-grabbing as the university that we’re opposing.

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Many staff and students gathered outside Heslington Hall to show their support of the UCU strikes

Hamzah, third year, English Literature

“I wish that they could come to a resolution over the pensions dispute. It’s frustrating that this will now be the third strike in my three years at uni. Hopefully uni will compensate us in one way or another, whilst also sorting out the staff pensions.”

Jo, first year, Social Policy

“I just feel that if the staff are feeling the need to strike then there’s reason for it. They deserve better conditions and job security, better working hours and access to a proper pension. Even though it means that as a student I get less support and have to travel 11 miles to uni to find my lectures aren’t on, I don’t mind, because I fully support workers rights, and people standing up for what they believe in!”