Refund Our Fees: University of East Anglia
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We, the undersigned students of the University of East Anglia, are in full support of our lectures’ decision to join the nationwide strike, and demand the planned changes to pensions to be dropped. In lieu of this, we judge a lump sum of £300 in refund for every student who loses any contact time due to the strike starting today, the 22nd of February, until the 16th of March 2018, to be a fair compensation.
We value our educators, and our university as a public good. The pursuit of knowledge, and the endeavour to understand, and improve our world is not given value by the corporatisation of our university; and the marketisation of our learning, and its teaching. However, in this instance it empowers us to make the above demands, due to us being forced to pay £9000 a year in fees. This luxury good, in economic terms, therefore entitles us to due financial compensation as the university is unable to supply the service we have paid for.
We feel there is no justification, or denial, that can defend the harm that the proposed switch to the Lecturers’ pension scheme will cause. Moving from a guaranteed defined retirement income to a riskier defined contributions scheme, which is dependent on the stock market, will risk upto a £200,000, or £10,000 a year loss in retirement income. This will leave valued professionals unable to afford their retirement. Especially, if they need special considerations, like, early retirement due to illness.
We respect, the Vice Chancellor, David Richardson’s decision to place the saved lecturers’ salaries into a hardship fund, however we are concerned that this is the first time this has happened, even though this has been requested by the University and College Union on previous strike actions.
We ask the Vice Chancellor to go further and recognise that there is not widespread consensus that these changes to pensions are necessary. Loughborough, Glasgow, Warwick, Birkbeck, Goldsmiths, Strathclyde, and London school of tropical hygiene and medicine have all resumed talks with unions; and his contemporary at the University of Essex has stated, “sometimes principles cost money”, in rejection of the market rationale you are defending.
We expect a refund if you continue with this shortsighted proposal, but hope that as a University we can reassess this situation, and instead support our educators, in recognition of the service they provide to students, as well as society at large.
From a unified student body.
Co-produced by Momentum Norwich.
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