Marking & Assessment Boycott (MAB) Update

Marking & Assessment Boycott (MAB) Update

In this update you will find information on our weekly MAB drop-in meetings, our branch MAB survey, minutes and slides from our EGM last week, advice on MAB questions raised by members, links to the MAB guide and FAQs, a link to join our branch What’s App group and a Crowdfunder for Save university pensions, and save the planet.

Weekly MAB Drop-in Meetings

These will take place between 2pm and 3pm every Wednesday afternoon. The first will be taking place today, please drop in at any time during the hour to raise any concerns you have or to ask any questions. The link has been emailed to all members as a re-occurring meeting invite.

MAB Branch Survey

Most members will have been emailed a link to take part in our branch MAB survey (if you are a retired or attached member you will not have received this survey). This will provide your LUCU branch committee with a picture of action across campus to inform their negotiations with management. Please complete the survey as soon as you can. It will close at midnight on Tuesday 2nd May.

Minutes & Slides from the MAB EGM

Minutes & Slides from the MAB EGM held on Friday, have been emailed to all members.

Your MAB Queries Answered

We have followed up on queries arising from the discussion of the MAB at our GM, and some emailed to the branch.

Are PhD examinations exempt from MAB? No. As per the FAQs provided by UCU:

What academic programmes or stages are covered?

All summative marking and assessment, at all levels, are covered in the boycott–undergraduate, sub-degree, and postgraduate–so it will include all taught postgraduate summative assessment; PhD final vivas and MPhil to PhD progression/confirmation vivas/assessments.

Preliminary comments on chapters submitted by doctoral researchers as part of the supervisory process are not considered part of summative assessment, and, therefore, this work does not violate the MAB. 

While members are not required to report in advance that they will be participating in the boycott, given the close working relationships with doctoral researchers, as a matter of courtesy, we would recommend that you let the student know that you will not be participating in their viva. 

Regarding whether members should/can resign as external examiners: This ASOS does not explicitly call upon members to resign. However, members may resign as an external examiner without detriment at any time, providing they comply with the terms of their contract, that is, they honour their required notice period.

Regarding whether timetabled sessions that focus on assessment should be cancelled: workshops and other teaching sessions that may teach writing or other skills needed for assessment are not covered by MAB, and members should deliver this teaching.

Regarding whether to provide guidance on study skills and other assessment related issues: During MAB, students remain entitled to ask their module tutors/personal tutors for support in improving their writing and other skills that may be used in an assessed task during tutorials, via email exchanges, etc.

MAB Guide and FAQs

You can find the UCU MAB Guide here and the FAQs here. These should provide answers for most MAB queries, if you cannot find the answer here then please email and/or attend the next MAB drop in meeting on a Wednesday afternoon.

WhatsApp Groups

We would like to remind members that we have two WhatsApp groups available for your use. The first group is for all members, regardless of which campus you work on. The second group is specifically for London campus members. These groups were set up to allow members to communicate during strike action when the use of work email is discouraged. The WhatsApp groups have developed into a fantastic branch building forum, enabling members to stay informed and up to date on the latest dispute news and – more broadly – to connect with each other and engage in discussions on union issues.

Our branch is committed to extending engagement with our membership, so that we can more effectively represent your interests. We encourage all members (both those in Loughborough and in London) to join and participate in our main WhatsApp group. We believe that, together, we can create positive change and better working conditions for all.

We should emphasise that, while we welcome questions and feedback via WhatsApp, it is essential to email the branch directly if you have a message for the committee. This ensures that nothing is missed and we can address any concerns as quickly and effectively as possible.

In summary: stay connected, stay informed and let your voice be heard. Links to join the Lboro UCU and the Lboro London UCU WhatsApp groups have been emailed to all members.

Update from Crowdfunder: Save university pensions, and save the planet

It’s set to be the biggest crowdfund in the UK ever. Even without yet winning in court, they’ve already:

•            exposed the nonsense “deficit” that USS directors predicted as a pretext to the April 2022 cuts – based on a 0.0% asset growth assumption for 30 years that was always a lie;

•            exposed the discriminatory conduct, that could have made every UK university liable for violating the Equality Act for the cuts’ disproportionate impact on grounds of gender, age and race;

•            pushed Universities UK to say they to reverse the cuts after the next valuation in August;

•            seen the architect of the nonsense deficit, USS CEO Bill Galvin, resign;

•            got UUK to say it will “examine” divesting fossil fuels;

•            got USS to vote against the BP chair, who’s planned to reduce fossil fuel cuts, and go into greenwash overdrive.

“But it’s not a done deal. We’re not satisfied until we have a legally binding reversal of the cuts, a policy that protects our planet, and we want a precedent to ensure that pension directors can never do the damage we’ve seen again – not to our pension or anyone else’s. This is essential to end the cycle of disputes over the scheme. We still need to hit our funding target, so that we – Ewan and Neil – don’t risk personal bankruptcy by fighting this court case! If all donors so far gave just £11.91 each, we’d be over the line.”

Here’s the link should you wish to contribute:

LUCU Committee

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