We're sure many of you may have heard by now that a 'marking boycott' has been planned for this semester outlined in the University's full statement which you can read here. We know that regardless of your views about industrial action, this news may be anxiety-inducing during an already stressful period with assignment deadlines and exams coming up. Your Sabbatical Officers want you to know that we hear you, we understand your concerns, and are hoping this short update may help calm some of those anxieties. As always though, please do not hesitate to contact us if you need any further advice, and please be assured that we're doing what we can to amplify your voices to the University and support you all during this time.
University and College Union (UCU) has voted to undertake action short of a strike (ASOS).*
This planned action includes a marking boycott, which will begin on Monday 23rd May. Lecturers taking part in the boycott will not be marking any assessed student work during this period.
Will the marking boycott stop me from progressing or graduating?
No. The University has introduced a 'no detriment' policy which ensures that you can progress to the next stage of your degree, or graduate from it, with a classification that reflects your achievements.
Will the marking boycott seriously affect my academic performance?
No. Through the 'no detriment' policy, the University will look at all the marks you have achieved up until the last meeting of the Exam Board in your School. Based on these marks, the University will then calculate your weighted average mark, which they would issue for you as a temporary mark in any instances in which you have a missing mark due to the boycott.
Where can I find out more about the 'no detriment' policy?
You can find out more about the 'no detriment' policy on the University's FAQ page.
What is NUSU's stance on UCU's action short of a strike?
Back in February, Newcastle students voted for us to support the UCU's strike action. We continue to respect the outcome of this vote and support striking Newcastle staff.
What is NUSU doing for PGRs who teach?
We know that some postgraduate research (PGR) students are members of UCU and we want to assure you that we will be here to support PGRs during this period. The University has stated that it will not ask non-boycotting staff (that includes PGRs who teach) to do the marking for staff who are participating in the boycott. Any PGRs with concerns about this issue or any other issues relating to the boycott can contact your Postgraduate Officer, Eleanor McCarthy.
Where else can I get help or support if I am affected by the marking boycott?
We also appreciate that news of a marking boycott during the assessment period may be worrying to you, so we also want to emphasise that we are here to amplify your voices and support you at this time.
If you have read the University FAQ and still have questions about the implications of the boycott for your studies, you can contact our Student Advice Centre. Alternatively, our Welfare & Support Centre is open between 9:00am - 4:00pm on the ground level of the Students' Union if you would like to come in and speak to us.
If you have any issues or concerns related to the industrial action that you want to send to the University directly, please do so here.
* UCU defines 'action short of a strike' as actions that 'legally slow down productivity without announcing to an organised withdrawal of labour. This generally consists of 'working to contract; not covering for absent colleagues; not rescheduling lectures or classes canceled due to strike action; not undertaking any voluntary activities; a marking and assessment boycott'.