Author Topic: University Challenged  (Read 31936 times)

greencalx

  • Never knowingly knowledgeable
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #660 on: November 08, 2020, 11:22:46 AM »
Maybe you could start with generalities. If there's something I'm bothered about, is it worth emailing the local branch about it?

From the meetings I've been to, what seems to happen is there's motions that come out of nowhere... there's the usual windbagging that takes place in the name of democracy, and then there's a vote... and then what?

pancreas

  • The islets of Langerhans are the very best islets
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #661 on: November 08, 2020, 04:06:48 PM »
Here are some of your levers:

• (Informal) meetings with management. You need to be able to put a business case, a legal case, a moral case. Often SMTs are not complete shit-heads. Often they will listen to reason. (Not all the time, of course.)
• Formal negotiations. See if you can get a copy of your UCU recognition agreement. It will detail the mechanisms by which you can force management to respond to requests. There will be mention of ACAS mediation if there are failures to agree.
• Industrial action (as a last resort). We would never have got to Attila's situation because we would be on strike already. This requires serious organisation, and a UCU committee which is more-or-less on your side. It *is* possible to circumvent a supine committee, but very hard.
• Senate (if you have people on it). Depends on how much power Senate has, and how diluted it is with lackies, but it can embarrass the SMT, slow things down, even completely stop mindless ratfuckery.
• Local UCU Twitter account (you'd be surprised at how touchy they can get about bad PR). For bigger hit, can probably get Jo Grady to comment on something very juicy.
• Press releases to the local/student rag. It'll go to their Press Team and they'll be forced to say something or put down as 'unavailable for comment'.
• Legal action. We tend not to go down this road, but probably should do more. UCU National is launching a judicial review of Government's ignoring SAGE. Liverpool is crowdfunding advice on getting an injunction against compulsory f2f teaching.
• Sting them with H&S wasps. Find all the ways they are not satisfying their responsibilities under 1974 H&S Act, 1977 Safety Act (and the later updates to include RIDDOR reporting). Demand facility time for H&S reps. FoI their risk register. If and when they fail to do what they are legally obliged to, then report them to local Health and Safety Executive.

You can always put your own motion to a branch meeting.

BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #662 on: November 08, 2020, 06:05:12 PM »
Happy to give advice on UCU matters by PM.

I recently got accidentally cc'd into an email to Exec Board, discussing an email I'd sent to members—which immediately get leaked to executive board. 'Not a bad email from pancreas, to be fair,' replied the VC. Was this close to replying to all with 'Thanks Dad.'

I'll caveat this with the fact that both the VC and Pancreas luncheon together at "the club".

BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #663 on: November 08, 2020, 06:08:14 PM »
Here are some of your levers:

• (Informal) meetings with management. You need to be able to put a business case, a legal case, a moral case. Often SMTs are not complete shit-heads. Often they will listen to reason. (Not all the time, of course.)
• Formal negotiations. See if you can get a copy of your UCU recognition agreement. It will detail the mechanisms by which you can force management to respond to requests. There will be mention of ACAS mediation if there are failures to agree.
• Industrial action (as a last resort). We would never have got to Attila's situation because we would be on strike already. This requires serious organisation, and a UCU committee which is more-or-less on your side. It *is* possible to circumvent a supine committee, but very hard.
• Senate (if you have people on it). Depends on how much power Senate has, and how diluted it is with lackies, but it can embarrass the SMT, slow things down, even completely stop mindless ratfuckery.
• Local UCU Twitter account (you'd be surprised at how touchy they can get about bad PR). For bigger hit, can probably get Jo Grady to comment on something very juicy.
• Press releases to the local/student rag. It'll go to their Press Team and they'll be forced to say something or put down as 'unavailable for comment'.
• Legal action. We tend not to go down this road, but probably should do more. UCU National is launching a judicial review of Government's ignoring SAGE. Liverpool is crowdfunding advice on getting an injunction against compulsory f2f teaching.
• Sting them with H&S wasps. Find all the ways they are not satisfying their responsibilities under 1974 H&S Act, 1977 Safety Act (and the later updates to include RIDDOR reporting). Demand facility time for H&S reps. FoI their risk register. If and when they fail to do what they are legally obliged to, then report them to local Health and Safety Executive.

You can always put your own motion to a branch meeting.

then... girl, you'll be a woman soon.

greencalx

  • Never knowingly knowledgeable
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #664 on: November 08, 2020, 07:43:42 PM »
Here are some of your levers:

• (Informal) meetings with management. You need to be able to put a business case, a legal case, a moral case. Often SMTs are not complete shit-heads. Often they will listen to reason. (Not all the time, of course.)

That's generally the road I've been going down, rather than interacting with the union. My departmental boss is excellent, and pushes back against the SMT a lot. But even he has the odd blind spot (probably because he's slightly further away from the chalkface and hasn't experienced some of the pain first hand) and I've been wondering what other routes might be available. I have had some interactions with our branch sec on non-union matters, so could sound him out on the things that are bothering me.

Attila

  • gif made by hedgehog90
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #665 on: November 09, 2020, 08:51:40 AM »
Here are some of your levers:

• (Informal) meetings with management. You need to be able to put a business case, a legal case, a moral case. Often SMTs are not complete shit-heads. Often they will listen to reason. (Not all the time, of course.)

This one made me smile sadly -- our SMT are a bunch of unmoveable meanies.

Great list, pancreas, and much appreciated. I envy anyone who can apply them successfully to their situation. As crap as mine is, I'm hoping it's only temporary -- the teaching situation, not the fact that I'm employed; of the latter, I'm quite fearful of what the end of this academic year will bring :(

greencalx

  • Never knowingly knowledgeable
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #666 on: November 11, 2020, 07:42:49 AM »
I see that the government thinks tha pt every university is like oxbridge and only teaches for three days a year.

Re: University Challenged
« Reply #667 on: November 11, 2020, 08:24:52 AM »
Fingers crossed they never come back

Re: University Challenged
« Reply #668 on: November 11, 2020, 09:35:58 AM »
Covid: England students to get six day window to get home before Christmas

Quote
Students in England will be given a six-day window next month in which to travel home before Christmas, with mass testing carried out on campus before they are allowed to leave.

A mass exodus will take place on staggered departure dates set by universities from 3 December to 9 December after England’s four-week lockdown, under plans announced by the Department for Education (DfE)on Tuesday night. Students testing positive would need to remain in self-isolation for 10 days.

Do students have some special legal basis as citizens where the government can just tell them when they can travel and force them to have a test? Are we not talking about the movement of adults after this lockdown ends? Not to be all "tch, nanny state" but it does feel like the government and a lot of universities have decided that adult undergraduates are actually boarding school pupils.

Attila

  • gif made by hedgehog90
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #669 on: November 11, 2020, 09:48:57 AM »
My senior management is already freaking out over it, long-time readers of this thread will not be surprised to learn.

The planned exodus week and the teach-from-home week coincide with the last two weeks of our semester, so I don't expect much in the way of any work getting done or any engagement with classes, online or whatever.  Fair enough -- but on top of that, a heck of a lot of assignments and dissertation draft deadlines fall in those weeks. So on top of the clusterfuck that the university has handed our students (and staff) through the entire semester and now lockdown, the students will be expected to work on major projects during an even further-raised stress level. Whee.

Our senior management was finally pressured into a 'town hall' style meeting for later this week to discuss with staff and students how the university has been coping with the covid situation -- they've scheduled it for bang smack in the middle of the busiest teaching day and have no published the Teams link for people to join. It's the union that's had to send around the link for people to join.

It's the gift that keeps on giving.

Re: University Challenged
« Reply #670 on: November 11, 2020, 10:33:25 AM »
Covid: England students to get six day window to get home before Christmas

Do students have some special legal basis as citizens where the government can just tell them when they can travel and force them to have a test? Are we not talking about the movement of adults after this lockdown ends? Not to be all "tch, nanny state" but it does feel like the government and a lot of universities have decided that adult undergraduates are actually boarding school pupils.

How are they going to enforce this on students outside of Halls? I know many who have already gone home.

I'm also wondering how this applies to me since I'm a middle aged student who returns to his family just before Xmas?

Re: University Challenged
« Reply #671 on: November 11, 2020, 10:59:26 AM »
Quote
I am worried about our first year students - I picture them being confined to their tiny rooms in hall, being force fed with Sandwich Lunch B - but I suspect the reality may not be as grim as this.

My son seems to be having a great time, doesn't want to come home. He was isolated for a while bcs his flatmate tested positive and the uni gave him fifty quid, which he spent on clothes. He spent March to October this year stuck in his bedroom at home with a feeling of dread, so I think he's happy to be anywhere else with new friends.

Re: University Challenged
« Reply #672 on: November 11, 2020, 12:55:07 PM »
Science subjects representing.

We have planned on-campus sessions all the way to the 18th. Well, had.

Uni policy is postpone not cancel, so how do we do that when we're so tightly booked that we have, checks, no free slots all the way to Easter.

greencalx

  • Never knowingly knowledgeable
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #673 on: November 11, 2020, 05:08:17 PM »
My son seems to be having a great time, doesn't want to come home. He was isolated for a while bcs his flatmate tested positive and the uni gave him fifty quid, which he spent on clothes. He spent March to October this year stuck in his bedroom at home with a feeling of dread, so I think he's happy to be anywhere else with new friends.

I've heard a few stories like this. I suspect a lot comes down to whether you get on with your flatmates or not - given that presumably you're only able to socialise with the people you live with. In my final year we basically spent most nights in our living room shooting the shit and occasionally went out to the pub or someone else's flat. I preferred that to a more itinerant round of parties, pub/club nights etc. But at least I had chosen who to share with rather than being forced to share with a bunch of random strangers. One of my flatmates in first year was a bit of dick, with nothing in common with the rest of us - that could have been a difficult situation if we'd been isolating. However, I suspect he probably would have moved out in a covid-type situation.

greencalx

  • Never knowingly knowledgeable
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #674 on: November 11, 2020, 05:10:03 PM »
Science subjects representing.

We have planned on-campus sessions all the way to the 18th. Well, had.

Uni policy is postpone not cancel, so how do we do that when we're so tightly booked that we have, checks, no free slots all the way to Easter.

18th is our last day too - though we finish with a fortnight of exams. It's possible that an exodus window could coincide with our short revision break - which might work for people, who may prefer to take their exams at home than here. Who knows?

Alberon

  • His heart is an empty fridge
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #675 on: November 11, 2020, 05:33:47 PM »
Our term ends on the 11th December so it's not going to have a huge effect on us, but the government can't order students to travel on certain dates and we certainly can't enforce anything. A good few students have gone home during reading week though most have returned or stayed.

Are they expected to isolate for 14 days after they return to Uni after Christmas?

greencalx

  • Never knowingly knowledgeable
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #676 on: November 11, 2020, 08:10:40 PM »
I’m hoping they test them when they get back.

We’ve been uneasy about treating students differently to the rest of the population. The worst example of this was when Universities Scotland (whom no-one had previously heard of) and the Scottish Government banned students from going to the pub when the general public was still able to.

On the other hand, if an exception to a travel ban is made for students to be able to return home, I guess that’s less objectionable.

Attila

  • gif made by hedgehog90
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #677 on: November 12, 2020, 06:16:51 AM »
Senior management here still aren't being clear about when we shift to online teaching only -- will it be literally just the last two days of the semester, or starting from 3 December (when the students can start leaving). KNowing these muppets, they will expect us -- and the students -- to continue to come for face to face teaching as much as possible even during the exodus.


BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #678 on: November 12, 2020, 08:12:03 AM »
Senior management here still aren't being clear about when we shift to online teaching only -- will it be literally just the last two days of the semester, or starting from 3 December (when the students can start leaving). KNowing these muppets, they will expect us -- and the students -- to continue to come for face to face teaching as much as possible even during the exodus.

and in Santa costume...

"Students drinking soft beverages not produced by Coca-Cola Corp. will face punishments ranging from on the spot fines to dismissal from The Programme.

Your SINCERELY

THE VICE CHANCELLOR"

Sebastian Cobb

  • bad opinion haver
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #679 on: November 12, 2020, 10:00:15 PM »
Looks like Manchester Uni has sent the filth in to intimidate the students there, even though they're not doing anything wrong.
https://twitter.com/netpol/status/1326984479076978699

Re: University Challenged
« Reply #680 on: November 12, 2020, 10:45:18 PM »
I heard from a friend who works at Manchester Uni that the debacle with them putting fences up around halls to monitor comings and goings at a fixed entry/exit was done specifically to stop dealers dropping off in halls, so I imagine this is an extension of that.

Given that in normal times the entire student population of Manchester fucking loves to get on it (and the party lifestyle is definitely part of the draw for going there), it seems a) sisyphean and b) mean spirited to try and deny the poor fuckers their class As in the dorms when there is fuck all else to do.

Blue Jam

  • COLOSSAL DESSERT TOWER
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #681 on: November 20, 2020, 02:23:51 PM »
Just put my name down to help with our mass testing of students for Covid-19. I feel really sorry for the buggers and would like to help them get home for a bit of normality this Christmas.

Alberon

  • His heart is an empty fridge
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #682 on: November 20, 2020, 11:29:45 PM »
We've got a testing centre up and running at our uni which is gearing up to test all students before they head home for Christmas.

But it is getting very quiet on campus already. Management is not saying anything but it really seems like a lot of students have gone home and it really feels like the place does between terms.

Zetetic

  • Worrying the carcass of an old song.
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #683 on: November 21, 2020, 05:44:14 PM »
We've got a testing centre up and running at our uni which is gearing up to test all students before they head home for Christmas.
LFT or PCR?

Blue Jam

  • COLOSSAL DESSERT TOWER
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #684 on: November 21, 2020, 05:55:11 PM »
LFT or PCR?

Embra will be using neither it seems, apparently we'll be using some kind of colourimetric testing kit for students' self-administered nose and throat swabs. Labelled RNA probes then.

Attila

  • gif made by hedgehog90
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #685 on: November 21, 2020, 07:03:29 PM »

But it is getting very quiet on campus already. Management is not saying anything but it really seems like a lot of students have gone home and it really feels like the place does between terms.

Same here. The official announcement is that students in my faculty can go home on the 5th and 6th December, and then it's all online teaching from then (so a whole 3 or so days).

I'm in three days a week from 9 til 4, pretty much teaching online out of the classrooms. If I'm luck, I get maybe 2 or 3 students in the classroom, with anywhere from 10-50 online, depending on the class I'm teaching that hour.

Last week, I had no students at all actually come in for class, and the online sessions went really well (aside from me being a bit grumpy that I had to get up at 530 to haul arse to get a train to get there in time for the class, only to sit in a vast lecture hall all by myself for an hour). The other classes I had, scattered across the week, never had more than 3 actually turning up, and the rest online.

What stunned me was when once group all decided actually to turn on their cameras. I've been teaching to a wall of avatars all semester, so it was startling actually to see people.

BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #686 on: November 21, 2020, 07:11:16 PM »
LFT or PCR?

M^ss testing is being seen as a failure by S8*e

pancreas

  • The islets of Langerhans are the very best islets
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #687 on: November 22, 2020, 12:25:32 AM »
M^ss testing is being seen as a failure by S8*e

Tbf our local contrarian, Allyson Pollock is *very* against m^ss t^stes.

Zetetic

  • Worrying the carcass of an old song.
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #688 on: November 22, 2020, 11:47:01 AM »
M^ss testing is being seen as a failure by S8*e

I'm not really sure why we're doing it in Merthyr, other than to be seen to be participating. Maybe it's some sort of act of fealty to DHSC?

Remarkably little discussion seems to have come out of Liverpool regarding the impact on PCR demand (given confirmatory tests), false positive LFTs and messaging etc. … let alone the actual impact on transmission.

(The data flows around all of this remain terrible, and that's not all England's fault, incidentally.)

BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #689 on: November 22, 2020, 12:48:23 PM »
I'm not really sure why we're doing it in Merthyr, other than to be seen to be participating. Maybe it's some sort of act of fealty to DHSC?

Remarkably little discussion seems to have come out of Liverpool regarding the impact on PCR demand (given confirmatory tests), false positive LFTs and messaging etc. … let alone the actual impact on transmission.

(The data flows around all of this remain terrible, and that's not all England's fault, incidentally.)

ignore my PM about Merthyr...well apart from that tidbit.

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