As a student studying at the University of Kent, I have come to question, ‘Why is there so much support for the striking university lecturers?’ Many important journalists, and dare I say it, students, have offered their support to lecturers. These students need to rethink their offering of support.
University staff are striking in response to the recent cutting of their pensions by approximately 40% from the University Superannuation Scheme (USS). OK, OK. University lecturers are frustrated. The USS are no doubt to blame for the resulting strikes because their decision to cut pensions was utterly ridiculous, considering they had a clear economic capability to avoid these cuts. In fact, the USS’s own financial assets have grown by 12% a year for the last five years, while it has a record number of staff paying into the scheme. Evidently, the USS did not need to cut academics’ pensions, and are consequently responsible for creating the precedence for the strikes to take place in the first place. While there is ‘no justification for this pension attack’, as a journalist for the Guardian has acknowledged, please enlighten me: what justification is there for the strikers to attack students?
From my own experience at university, there has been an enormous amount of disruption from the strikes. One week, I did not have a single lecture or seminar, and for four weeks I consistently had lectures and seminars cancelled. I offer my apologies if I seem like a whinging child, but must I remind lecturers that all undergraduates in England pay tuition fees of £9,250 a year? Of course not. That is what makes it so absurd! Staff are fully aware of this, as many have made clear in their attempts to get myself and other students to pledge our full support to…well…their robbing of our money and education. Insulting. With almost 2500 students at the University of Kent having already signed a petition demanding compensation in response to the strikes, it is clear that many other students feel the same way. I should emphasise that they are ‘strikes’, considering the majority of lecturers have tried to soften the blow of their actions by referring to them as ‘industrial action’. This in itself tells you everything you need to know: even the lecturers who are striking know thei