Imperial UCU were concerned that Professor Peter Haynes, the Vice Provost (Education & Student Experience)’s message to students regarding the ongoing industrial action contained some misleading and inaccurate statement. Herewith the rebuttal to Professor Haynes’ message, as sent to student members of the UCU:
Dear UCU student member
On Tuesday this week (7 Feb), all Imperial students received an email from the Vice-Provost (VP – Education & Student Experience) about the current dispute over USS pensions and pay. This email contains several errors and misleading statements that we would like to address here.
1) The VP states: “Please be assured that you will not be examined on any content which you have not been taught as a result of strike action.”
In many cases where the exam papers have already been written, this may not be the case.
2) The VP states that “Funds will be directed to the Student Support Fund in the first instance”. This is what UCU always requests when we are forced to take industrial action. Unfortunately, management has a different perspective.
The Provost’s email on the same day states:
“Funds will be directed to the Student Support Fund by default, although individual departments will be able to claim for any additional support they need to mitigate the impacts of the industrial action on students.”
In other words, the priority for deducted salaries from strike action will be for departments to spend first. Any cash that is left over, will only then be given to the student hardship fund.
3) The VP states that “We will keep advocating strongly for reforms to USS to secure a fairer, more sustainable and affordable scheme for all members.”
This sounds good but has been flatly contradicted by a statement this week (7 Feb)***from senior management to UCU, in which they refuse to join the many other UK universities that have committed to reversing the USS pension cuts if the next valuation shows a healthy balance.. Instead, the College will only commit to supporting an “accelerated valuation timetable”. The College would prefer to leave open the option of reducing employer contributions. Presumably by stating “affordable to all members”, the College has in mind employers.
4) Finally, the VP states in his email that “our priority is your education”, which we believe is simply not true.
If that were their priority, Imperial College would be supporting the staff who make your education possible at a time of crisis. The College priority appears to be student tuition fees and property deals even at the expense of staff and students.