SU Referendum: Should we support Marking Boycotts?

20th October 2014

Voting today opened in a referendum of you, the students, in which it is to be decided whether your Students Union should support any future marking boycotts held by academic staff.

The issue has become a hot-topic in recent weeks, with many members of academic staff who are a part of the University and College Union (UCU) threatening to refuse to mark students essay’s over proposed changes to the USS Pension scheme, which may lead to lecturers losing tens of thousands of pounds in retirement.

Your Students Union is holding a referendum on the issue, as the SU Council failed to reach a decision on the issue at its meeting on the 4th of April.

In the referendum, students are asked to give a yes/no response to the following motion:

“As some students believe that marking boycotts have a detrimental effect on students’ academic experience, do you think that the Students’ Union should oppose the use of marking boycotts in any industrial action taken by academics?”

The Pulse investigated what the outcome of the referendum will mean for students, and why you should vote, with Anna and Sam guiding you through the results of our interviews with Education Officer Adam BK, Activities Officer Joe Caunce and you, the students:

Your Monday Pulse team then discussed in the studio whether the referendum had been sufficiently publicised around campus, with some worried that the SU won’t reach its required 10% minimum turnout threshold.

Debate then turned to whether the SU should support the boycott:

A number of you contacted us by sending us a free webtext on, letting us know your opinions on this controversial issue:

One student you asked said lecturers don’t have the right to strike. They do have the right! And we as students should respect that and seek a solution with them.

It’s a shame that students are the ones that lose out, our lives are stressful enough and I would have hoped this issue would have been sorted without having to go to this extreme – Emma

I have no faith that 10% of students will turn out. What will happen then?

This referendum needs more coverage and needs to be explained in full to the voters, when it surfaced last term many of my friends either did not know about it or misunderstood what it was talking about – James

Markers should NOT boycott, what on earth are we paying £9,000 for? where is the money going if their pay hasn’t risen?

Voting in the referendum closes on the 27th October, and you can vote by logging onto the Elections App on the University of Nottingham website. We will bring you more news on the result of the referendum, and whether the Students Union meets its minimum turnout next week. We’d love to hear your views on this issue, so leave your comments below.

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