Bristol Uni under pressure as hundreds sign open letter to get exams marked this summer

You can sign it now to ensure that your voice is heard

Bristol University is under significant pressure to step up its response to the ongoing marking and assessment boycott after a student issued them with an ultimatum in an open letter which has already been signed by hundreds of students.

Charlie Gaisford, a final year Politics and International Relations student, wrote the open letter, which has two major requests, last week and it has since been signed by roughly 350 students.

The first request calls on the university’s senior leadership team to “make a public request to the organisation which negotiates staff pay, the UCEA, that they resume negotiations with union representatives from the UCU.”

The letter asks “that this statement to the UCEA conveys the strength of feeling among students that this dispute must be urgently resolved and that our work should be marked in a timely fashion.”

In the second request, the university is called upon to reassure its students that “work will be marked in time for graduation, or in time to progress to the next year of study” and that “this marking will be undertaken by the qualified staff who set the assessments and not by external providers.”

The university have been asked to release both the statement to UCEA and the policy clarification by at least Monday 22nd May.

These requests come after last week’s warning from the University and College Union (UCU) that Bristol Uni wouldn’t be able to find enough staff to mark summer exams.

Consequently, many students, including Charlie himself, face the prospect of graduating this summer without having all of their assessments marked.

Charlie Gaisford

Speaking to The Bristol Tab, Charlie said: “I got in contact with a nice lad from Edinburgh University called Ollie Lewis who did a very good thread [on Twitter]. He sort of reached out to me to lead the charge from Bristol I suppose.

“I feel that it’s deeply unfair that students will be graduating unsure as to what their degree is based on, or not even sure if they have graduated at all.”

Talking about his own experience, Charlie said: “I have written a 10,000-word dissertation and I have been told by my tutor that it is not going to be marked until the UCU boycott is over.

“Since there is no end in sight as the UCEA and UCU have stopped negotiating, it means that although the university is telling me I’m going to graduate in August, the graduation is not going to be based on my dissertation which I have obviously spent a lot of time on.”

Charlie, who described the last few months as “stressful and anxiety-inducing”, now feels like he is “staring down the barrel of a shotgun” as he has amassed “a huge amount of debt and [has] no degree to show for it.”

With hundreds of students signing the open letter already, it shows that Charlie’s frustration is shared by many at the university.

As more students add their names to the letter the university will come under increasing pressure to provide an adequate response to the marking and assessment boycott.

If you are a student at the University of Bristol and share Charlie’s frustration then make sure to add your signature to the open letter by clicking here.

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