A referendum on the ‘No support for marking boycotts’ motion, further to the Union Council held on 7th April 2014, is due to take place in the week commencing 20th October.
The motion proposed in the last academic year, read: “As some students believe that marking boycotts have a detrimental effect on students’ academic experience, do you think that the Students’ Union should oppose the use of marking boycotts in any industrial action taken by academics?”
Students will be asked to answer this question via a link on the University of Nottingham Students’ Union (UoNSU) website.
A marking boycott was last used in 2006 and would see staff who choose to participate refuse to mark exams, coursework, dissertations and portfolios of work, or communicate marks verbally, electronically or on paper.
Staff would also refuse to attend meetings and prepare for exams, but they would continue to take lectures and seminars.
The University and College Union (UCU) said that part of the reason for the this year’s proposed boycott was that members were offered a 1% increase, which the union said represented a real-terms pay cut of 13% since 2009.
Union representatives also pointed out that the average pay rise for university Vice-Chancellors was 5%.
“We should do our best to secure better working conditions for them, which means in turn a better education for us”
Speaking anonymously, one lecturer told Impact that marking boycotts are “a last resort and the effect such protest has on the education of the students is deeply regrettable for the teaching staff”.
University of Nottingham Left Society said: “Instead of a Students’ Union supporting the university administration cracking down on lecturers taking action to protect their futures, resulting in over-worked, less happy lecturers, which is bad for us, we should instead empathise with our teachers”.
“We should do our best to secure better working conditions for them, which means in turn a better education for us”.
“Personally, I don’t think students will support the motion due to the potentially harmful effects a marking boycott could have on degree outcomes”
A second year Modern Languages student also commented: “Personally, I don’t think students will support the motion due to the potentially harmful effects a marking boycott could have on degree outcomes”.
Voting on this motion will be open from 9am on Monday 20th October to 3pm Monday on 27th October via the UoN Elections App.
Quorum for this referendum is 10% of the Full Members of the Union.
The motion shall pass if the referendum is quorate and a simple majority is obtained in favour.
Image: faungg via Flickr