Warwick UCU supports Protect Warwick Women

Since 18 March 2021, University of Warwick students led by Protect Warwick Women (PWW) have been protesting the University’s failure to adequately respond to, and prevent, sexual misconduct at the University. Starting with a sit-in on the central campus piazza they have since moved to occupy University House. 

PWW’s demands, which focus on such critical issues as training for campus security and students, signposted safe spaces, better support for those who experience sexual assault, and more appropriate penalties for those who are found guilty of sexual assault, all focus on urgent matters that would help to make the University safer for all students and staff.  

Warwick UCU stands in solidarity with student protestors and calls on the University to enter into immediate and intensive discussions with PWW and other stakeholders. These discussions should focus – not on how to end the protests – but on how to address the problem of sexual assault and the University’s support to survivors, so as to ensure a culture and environment in which all students and staff feel safe, and which all members of the University can be proud.

Warwick UCU Branch Committee calls on MPs to withdraw threats to academic freedom and to specific academics made to the Education Select Committee and apologise to those affected.

On Tuesday 27th April at a meeting of the Education Select Committee, Jonathan Gullis MP called for political interference in academic research, over-riding of employment law, and summary political sackings of university staff. While claiming to make these calls in defence of Jewish students, he belied his real motivations, as he himself recently used anti-semitic arguments to call for the suppression of academic freedom in a separate case.

Tory MPs threatening to sack academics and cut funding
In an inappropriate and unsubstantiated attack, Jonathan Gullis called for the summary dismissal of three specific members of University of Warwick staff, whom he named.

Gullis made the following statement (https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/32f86b8d-1689-4717-86b4-17bf0665c4f8?in=10:44:48&out=10:48:49) : 

“Stuart Croft, the Vice Chancellor, was the biggest embarrassment to students at his University, we need to go further than just fining, we need to start sacking people and Stuart Croft, and Dr Goldie Osuri, and Professor Virinder Karla [sic] need to go to be quite frank.”

Both the Chair of the Education Committee, Robert Halfon MP, and the Minister for Universities, Michelle Donelan MP, appeared to endorse this position. The Minister explained to Mr Gullis that it is not possible for government ministers to “sack” VCs or academics, but went on to say, “I agree with you, certain universities do need to go further on this area”, while Robert Halfon suggested that universities were “hiding behind employment law” in failing to sack academics. 

Wholly inappropriate intervention
This exchange at the Education Select Committee was a wholly inappropriate and flagrantly political attack on academic freedom and democracy. It is deeply concerning that MPs should be attempting to interfere in university employment and academic freedom in this way, and we do not think that this is an isolated attack on the work of these specific scholars, but part of a sustained attack on critical thinking which is likely to continue unless robustly opposed. 

It parallels the Education Secretary’s call for a “Freedom of Speech Champion” for universities, which would apparently only support freedom of particular kinds of speech valued by government ministers, without regard for the safety or dignity of students, staff or wider university communities.

As with reports that the Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden would deny future funding to academic research into colonial histories by a specific Professor, which were prompted by calls from the so-called “Common Sense” group of which Gullis is a member, this is a worrying sign of how little the current government and its MPs value freedom of thought and democracy. These anti-democratic instincts to stifle scholarly research must be resisted.

It is important to note that both Dr Goldie Osuri and Professor Virinder Kalra are internationally recognised scholars who are well known for their research and civic work on anti-racism and anti-colonialism.

The claims by these MPs to be defending Jewish students is all the more galling in light of the fact that Gullis was a signatory to a recent letter from the so-called “Common Sense Group” of MPs who proposed cutting funding for historical research into Britain’s national heritage because they didn’t agree with the findings, referring in their statements to “cultural Marxist dogma”, a reference to a far-right anti-semitic conspiracy theory commonly used to attack critical scholars in the humanities and social sciences. 

We call on Jonathan Gullis MP to:

  1. Withdraw his anti-democratic call for political interference in university life
  2. Apologise to the academics he has targeted with threats
  3. Apologise for his endorsement of an anti-semitic conspiracy theory

We further call on Michelle Donelan MP and Robert Halfon MP to:

  1. Apologise for apparently condoning calls by a member of the Education Select Committee for political interference in university life, including threats towards individual academics
  2. Commit to upholding the principle that scholarly research should be free from political interference

 

Local Dispute FAQs

Why are we in dispute with the university? 

Warwick UCU and The University of Warwick are in dispute because the University is failing to protect the health and safety of all staff during the Covid-19 pandemic. Warwick UCU members have repeatedly made clear that they do not feel safe carrying out face to face teaching, or working onsite, because of Covid-19 infection rates in the community and the unsafe numbers of staff and students on campus. Members have told us they are being required to work on campus rather than deliver their work online, despite:

  •  Having clinically vulnerable household members who are being put at additional risk
  •  Having to travel on public transport and be exposed to additional risk
  • Experiencing unsafe situations on campus in corridors, classroom and other spaces, e.g. crowding, lack of adequate ventilation, lack of cleaning and cleaning supplies
  • Unsuitable pedagogical conditions: extremely cold rooms due to open windows, difficulties hearing and communicating because of masks and room layout, anxiety of staff and students

Nobody should be required to choose between their work and their health, or that of their family. We are particularly concerned that casualised colleagues, with the least power to negotiate, are disproportionately bearing the burden of face to face teaching.

 We have been raising these issues with management since June. They have failed to respond to numerous requests to reconsider their approach.

 In October our All-Member Emergency Meeting had the highest attendance rate the branch has ever seen. Members voted overwhelmingly in favour of balloting for industrial action if the university management continued to refuse to move all but practical and lab-based classes online during the pandemic.

What evidence do we have that members feel unsafe and anxious?

This is clear from emails and other communications between members and departmental representatives and executive members, and from various communications between members and the central University. It is also clear from our All-Member Emergency Meeting. 

From a survey conducted by the branch, but open to all University employees, in September 2020, 85% of members stated that the Covid-19 crisis had led to increased anxiety levels and pressures in their workplace. We know this in part relates to excessive workload, exacerbated by the blended learning model’s multiplication of preparation, student support and technical work. Our demands include better representation of staff in decisions about learning models, to avoid this in future.

What is happening for casualised members of staff?

The consequences of the University’s position in terms of workload, stress, mental health, and exposure to the virus have been hard for all members of staff, but have been significantly worse for colleagues in precarious positions (GTA, STP, VAM, fixed-term contracts). 

  • Many have little information and no voice in decision-making processes (e.g. not even aware of the risk assessments for their departments or the room they teach in)
  • They bear the larger burden of f2f teaching, even in departments that have tried to distribute this fairly, because they predominantly teach large first year modules.
  • In departments where there has been relatively more flexibility allowed, casualised colleagues are less likely to be aware or feel able to raise concerns and negotiate to teach online. In some departments, people have been forced to either teach face to face or not teach at all (and lose their contract). 
  • Colleagues on STP do not even have sick pay, they will not get paid if they contract COVID-19
  • Casualised colleagues have been the first to be thrown under the bus by the university in the face of the pandemics, with the slashing of the sessional teaching budget. As a result, many PhD students or recent graduates don’t have the opportunity to teach or have less hours than they would have expected (and a lower income). These cuts have effectively led to job losses for casualised staff, and unbearably increased workloads of other colleagues. 

How does the dispute help members of professional services staff? 

Fewer people on campus makes campus safer from everyone. Workloads of professional services staff increased to facilitate the frequent shifts from face to face to online. More certainty would mean a more manageable workload for everyone. 

What about teaching that can’t be done online? 

UCU’s position is that all teaching except for that which cannot be done online (e.g. labs) should be moved online. 

What support is there for Warwick UCU’s position?

In addition to the concerns we have received from members, UCU National has also called for all but essential teaching to be moved online for the duration of the pandemic. The call for universities to move online is supported by both Independent SAGE and SAGE. Notably in September, the Government ignored the advice they received from SAGE. UCU National has also initiated a legal action against the government for ignoring the advice from SAGE. We also have the support of the National Union of Students. 

What would industrial action involve? 

Industrial action would combine two types of action: strike, and ‘Action Short of Strike’ (ASOS). Specific guidance will be issued before we start any action. ASOS would primarily consist in moving your teaching online, and/or working to (notional) contracted hours. Strike action would mean not performing any work activities. We will not have physical pickets due to the pandemic, but we will organise virtual pickets.  If we call for strike, we will do so strategically. 

Why should I vote yes to strike and action short of a strike? 

Many of our members have been struggling over the past few months, particularly our casualised colleagues. A ‘yes’ vote is a vote for solidarity with them. 

The only reason the university is now discussing our concerns with us is because we entered into a formal dispute. While we will only take industrial action if it becomes necessary, we need to show the university that we are prepared to do so in order for them to take us seriously, so that we can effectively negotiate a resolution. 

Why are we balloting for industrial action now, haven’t the negotiations just started? 

We have had one Dispute Resolution meeting with the University and another is scheduled for November 26th. We took the decision to open the ballot before the second meeting for two reasons: 

  1. We have a mandate to ballot from the membership that we are obliged to act on. In particular, the All Member Meeting acknowledged that while we would not be able to ballot in time to take action in Term 1, it would be essential to ensure we are prepared to take action at the start of Term 2 if need be. It is recommended by UCU that the ballot remain open for four weeks, and we are required by law to give the University two clear weeks notice of any planned industrial action. So as to be prepared for this and to not have the ballot open over the Christmas holiday, we had to open the ballot as early as possible. 
  2. The University has had many months to consider and respond to UCU’s concerns, and they have not done so. Initiating the ballot demonstrates that we are serious. 

But the University says that campus is as COVID-secure as possible, and there have been no documented cases arising from teaching?

Campus cannot ever be fully COVID-secure; nowhere can be. Moreover, many of our students have contracted COVID-19 on campus, despite the measures in place. We are also aware that the Residential Life Team has been affected. These cases, and the knock on effects on our local community, are unnecessary. In addition, our members’ concerns are not just about campus but long commutes on public transport. 

We are also concerned about the increased workloads that have arisen as a consequence of the blended model.

But my department has been very understanding and ensured that colleagues with serious well-being concerns relating to working on campus have been able to work online/at home? 

The university’s stated policy is that only those that are extremely clinically vulnerable are exempt from teaching face to face. However, in practice, some departments have exercised more discretion than others and have taken a more flexible approach. It is important to recognise that even if your experience has been relatively positive, we have many colleagues who are teaching face to face when they would strongly prefer not to, and to use your vote to show your solidarity with them. 

There is no guarantee that flexibility and exceptions granted to/within departments in Term 1 would continue into Term 2. 

What about those staff members who prefer face-to-face teaching or who want to work in their offices? 

Most of us would prefer to teach face to face, and we are eager to return to the classroom when the public health situation improves. In the meantime, our main concern is that no one should have to teach face to face during a pandemic if they feel uncomfortable doing so, for any reason. 

Furthermore, we believe there should be more support for online teaching in order to make it an accessible and rewarding experience for students and staff in otherwise difficult circumstances. 

What about student wellbeing? Students, especially first years, deserve some face-to-face teaching? 

We know members are extremely concerned about the wellbeing of our students. We appreciate arguments about the need for face-to-face teaching, particularly for students who were affected by the A-level fiasco earlier this year, or by industrial action in previous years, but we believe the uncertainty of trying to provide f2f to students is only exacerbating the problem. While a fully online programme comes with many challenges, we believe that frequent periods of self-isolation and lockdowns, flipping with little notice from f2f to online, and large numbers of students in many online seminars, is not good for students’ well-being either. 

The NUS supports UCU’s demands for all but essential teaching to be online during the pandemic. Management decisions to choose a ‘blended model’ and require students to be on campus are what have put students’ mental and physical health at risk – not staff demands for safety in the workplace.

We understand and empathise with students who would prefer f2f teaching, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of the physical and mental health of staff members, vulnerable students, or the local community.

What about the vote the Students Union took? 

You may be aware that Warwick Student Union voted against a motion “Warwick SU Supports UCU’s Call for Online Teaching.” 

We are of course disappointed in this result, but we want to reiterate that UCU has called for teaching to be online in the interests of health and safety, and with the support of NUS. 

We are not surprised that students feel this way, and we sympathise. The vast majority of us would prefer to be back in the classroom, too. However, we can’t vote away the pandemic, and we do not believe that any students or staff should be required to take risks with their health by attending campus against their will in the context of a global pandemic. Lockdowns, social distancing, wearing masks – all of these measures are taken not because we want them, but because we have to take them in order to control the spread of the virus. 

Moreover, the face to face teaching we are currently able to provide not only presents significant difficulties for effective pedagogy, but it has also needlessly led to hundreds of positive cases amongst our students. 

We would fully support increased face to face teaching if the public health situation improved considerably, but that’s not where we are right now. We believe the university should have invested in, and planned earlier for, excellent online provision to see us through the pandemic. 

How is this strike action any different from last year, or the year before? 

We would stress that this is a local action, so the pressure is much more immediate and the negotiations are being conducted on a local level. Given this, our chances of success are much higher. 

The Four Fights dispute is still ongoing, but strike action did force UCEA to negotiate on issues they had never accepted to discuss before, and we put issues of precarity, pay gap, and workload front and centre. The current pandemic highlights how deep these problems are.

The offer made by UCEA was disappointing and we have learned lessons from these strikes. The current dispute has clear and achievable demands, which mean the university can promptly resolve it if they choose to. 

 

Public Health in the Community: UCU Branches at Coventry and Warwick Universities Call for All-Online Teaching in Term 1

Joint Statement from Coventry University and University of Warwick University and College Union (UCU) Branches on the Community Public Health Impacts of the Reopening of Coventry and Warwick Universities, 10.9.20

 

The Vice Chancellors of Coventry and Warwick Universities made a statement on 25 August that they believed their campuses would be ‘as “covid-secure” as possible’ and that they had due regard to public health measures. The University and College Union (UCU) trade union branches on both campuses dispute this, backing the national UCU position, and statements in the House of Commons by our local MP, that there should be a presumption that all teaching is online except in very limited circumstances.

 

This position is based on evidence from government SAGE, Independent SAGE, peer-reviewed evidence in the British Medical Journal, and university experiences overseas, and in a situation where cases of Covid-19 are already rising significantly in Coventry. As the government SAGE report released on Friday indicated, campus outbreaks of Covid-19 are inevitable, and the likely consequences severe – for local communities as well as for the students and staff exposed, and their households. Despite the Universities’ promise of risk mitigation, requiring staff and students to undertake in-person teaching will not be safe, sustainable, or pedagogically sound.

 

While we have continued to support the risk assessment process at both Universities, having assessed the evidence we believe that the risks are much higher than acknowledged by our university leadership for our university communities and the city of Coventry at large.

 

The demographics of the Coventry area suggest a greater vulnerability to Covid-19 according government data, with increases in cases already seen in local areas in close proximity to Coventry University.

 

Despite the joint statement from Vice Chancellors, the two universities are planning inconsistent mitigation measures which further underlines the lack of evidence-based planning and the resulting public health risk. Staff and students at the University of Warwick are required to wear masks in classrooms (with no clarity about how this will be maintained), while staff and students at Coventry University have been told it is optional in teaching spaces. Attendance at in-person classes will be optional for Coventry students, while Warwick students have to provide evidence of special circumstances to be allowed to miss in-person classes. While the University of Warwick has established on-campus testing facilities and Coventry University has not, there are serious questions about this test and trace capacity.

 

Neither University has the confidence of staff and students to manage the high levels of risk associated with the return to campus. Poor management of planning, communications and expectations of students will impact further on the existing university mental health crisis.

 

Forcing all but the most vulnerable staff back to campus subjects them and the Coventry community to risks of serious illness and death that are entirely predictable and avoidable. We urge the Vice Chancellors of our universities to reconsider the position and make online teaching the default option, for the sake of our local communities.

 

UCU Coventry University Committee

UCU University of Warwick Committee

 

Five Red Lines Redux: Move Autumn Teaching Online Now

In June 2020, Warwick UCU developed its “Five Red Lines” document, outlining the conditions necessary to ensure that the move to reopen campus occurs safely. These lines are as follows: (1) safe in society; (2) safe on campus; (3) safe university buildings; (4) safe for all colleagues; and (5) safer communication.

We have been monitoring the situation carefully over the past three months, in close contact with the University – participating in risk assessments, sitting on campus reopening working groups, and meeting with senior managers weekly to discuss health and safety issues. On the basis of these experiences, it has become clear to us that the only way to open campus safely is to move the bulk of teaching (except where pedagogically unfeasible, such as certain labs) online for the autumn term.

We do not come to this conclusion lightly. Nearly all those who teach would, under normal circumstances, prefer to do so in person. But there is a growing consensus among public health officials, including government scientists, that the attempt by universities to operate as close to normal as possible is courting disaster (Dickenson 2020a; Dickenson 2020b). As many other institutions (including Harvard and Yale Universities in the US) have come to recognise, a return to teaching in person this September will create significant risks for both public health and educational outcomes. The most recent news from the US only confirms fears that in-person teaching will lead to surges in new cases.

Universities risk becoming sites of mass infection, so we must act now. We spell out why this is the case below.

First, we are calling on Warwick to act decisively as a sector leader and move the autumn term wholly online now, with adequate time for all to prepare their teaching accordingly. This is not just for the health of teachers and students, but for all workers employed by Warwick and for the broader West Midlands community, whose health and safety will be compromised by a return to business as usual. Second, we call on Warwick to work with Universities UK to lobby much more forcefully for a substantive university bailout package, one that will better enable universities across the country to prioritise the health and safety of their staff, students and surrounding communities. No one should have to choose between their livelihoods and their lives.

Our conclusions regarding a safe return to work are based on the following factors.

  • The R number is not falling

In June we wrote that “New cases of Covid-19 need to be low and falling, with a sustained downward trend and confidence that all new cases can be identified and responded to promptly.” Unfortunately, there are over 1000 new cases a day, which is in breach of the government’s own targets. As of early August, the R number is not falling, but has instead remained level and in many regions is rising. This return to the higher infection rates of April and May has led to a series of localised lockdowns, including declaration of a ‘major incident’ in Manchester. The University currently has no plan in place for dealing with a localised lockdown, either in Coventry itself or in the surrounding commuter belt where staff and students live. If Covid-19 were to enter the campus community it is likely that infection rates would rise sharply, endangering the health of staff and students alike.

  • Commuting patterns at Warwick have public health implications for the entire West Midlands community

Because Warwick is a commuter campus, with staff traveling from across the country and even the EU, we are concerned that those who live in regions with high infection rates will feel compelled to resume face-to-face (f2f) teaching due to university directives. The risk is that they will transmit the virus not only on campus but also to the wider Coventry community. We have yet to see any comprehensive analysis of how a mass return to campus will impact public transport, local infrastructure and healthcare in Coventry and surrounding areas. Aside from the risk to the University community itself, this negligence undermines the University’s commitment to being a “good neighbour” in Warwickshire and the West Midlands.

  • Classrooms are not ‘Covid-secure’

The University’s position is that between 50% and 75% of all small group teaching should be f2f next term. Yet risk assessments reveal that campus lacks the necessary capacity for this target, once logistical complexities of transitions, queuing, waiting between contact times and cleaning regimes are considered. We do not consider the University’s current health and safety plans for classrooms to be adequate (for e.g., there are no plans to stagger session times; no extensive cleaning planned between sessions; and only 10-15 minute transition times scheduled between classes, which does not permit one set of students to leave and another to enter safely). We are particularly worried about the use of classrooms without windows or adequate ventilation, especially given growing empirical evidence that Covid-19 is primarily airborne (Setti et al 2020; Bahl 2020).  Finally, while other universities have been acquiring new equipment to improve their sanitation regimes, including state-of-the-art UV cleaning robots, Warwick has made no such investment, which suggests that more risks will have to be taken by cleaning staff. 

These factors lead us to conclude that Warwick’s classrooms are, simply put, unsafe spaces for teaching staff, cleaning staff, and students in a pandemic.

  • The University’s health and safety guidance for students is inadequate

The University’s guidelines to new students for social mixing, reporting cases and self-isolating will only create unacceptable risks. It’s unclear, for instance, how the designation of “kitchen units” will work in practice, and what obligations members of these units will have toward each other. Moreover, because these “kitchen units” don’t overlap with students’ home departments, years or classes, they pose additional risks of transmission on campus. Members of the University’s cleaning team are also raising concerns. One such staff member (who asked to remain anonymous) explained, “there doesn’t seem to be a Risk Assessment for when students are in residence, or if there is we haven’t seen it.” This member also raised a number of other issues such as bathroom cleaning provision, staffing numbers, and staff feeling pressured to come back to work when it doesn’t feel safe.

Further, the University’s advice to students asks that students report only confirmed cases of Covid infection. This directive makes it more likely that new cases will lead to uncontrolled rates of transmission before test results are made public, and will make it virtually impossible to contain any outbreaks. A wider concern is that Covid-19 is often asymptomatic, and thus that infection can spread significantly before the manifestation of symptoms triggers intervention.

  • Face-to-face teaching is not safe for all colleagues

Although there is an equalities impact assessment for the return to campus, there have been no such assessments regarding the differential risks relating to BAME staff, disabled staff, older staff and staff in other categories who may be more vulnerable to the virus. Nor are there plans in place for ensuring the safety of colleagues who carry such differential risks.

  • The University’s communications have been neither safe nor clear

The University has failed to communicate clearly with staff on a number of urgent issues: how will an individual’s risk level will be properly assessed; what kinds of accommodations can or will be made for different risk categories; who will be compelled to teach f2f; under what conditions will the University will move to online teaching; and how the University will deal with a second wave of infection. The University has also refused to factor in the increased workload staff will face this year (beyond positing a risible “two extra hours a week” for adaptation purposes), nor has it acknowledged the risks posed by increased workloads to the mental and physical health of already overburdened staff members.

At the same time, the University’s cavalier communications to incoming students (“You may be a little concerned about how Covid-19 will impact your experience with us, but there’s no need to worry”) suggest that it has failed to absorb the baseline truth that staff working conditions are students’ learning conditions. Prioritising a near-normal ‘student experience’ over staff welfare in abnormal circumstances is a recipe for satisfying no one and endangering all. Rather than imposing coercive targets from above, the University would do better to trust the responsiveness and creativity of staff and students alike when working in conditions of crisis. The temporary provision of online teaching is far preferable as an option to unwieldy and unworkable adaptations of in-person teaching to meet the challenges of Covid-security.

As a union, we will continue to support ongoing risk assessment processes to help ensure that that any return to campus is as safe as possible, but we do so with the belief that the only way to truly ensure the safety of our colleagues and students is to make online teaching the default position for Term 1.

Extraordinary Assembly to Save Casualised Staff’s Jobs

On 5 August, 2020 the Chair of Warwick UCU submitted a requisition, signed by 25 members of the Assembly, to the Vice Chancellor calling for an extraordinary assembly to discuss a motion on the proposed cuts to the Sessional Budget. This motion calls on the University to recognise that sessional teaching staff jobs are jobs, and to pause the cuts to the sessional teaching budget until proper consultations have taken place, an Equality Impact Assessment has been carried out, and other proposals to make up the budget shortfall have been considered. You can read the motion we put forward below:

 

Assembly Motion: Protect the Jobs of Sessional Teachers & Casualised Staff

This Assembly notes that:

  1. In his very first message on 19 March 2020, at the start of the Covid-19 crisis, Stuart Croft pledged that Warwick will protect jobs. But the Provost, Chris Ennew, has announced plans to cut the Sessional Teaching (STP) budget by 50% in order to save £5 million, or 10% of the University’s proposed £50m savings.
  2. There are currently over 3,600 people employed on STP contracts who are affected by these cuts.
  3. This £5m savings will cut over 50,000 hours of PGR teaching, marking and preparation alone. This shortfall will need to be made up, increasing pressure on workload for permanent and fixed-term staff.
  4. The University has repeatedly claimed to have a longstanding commitment to improving the employment conditions of casualised staff.
  5. Over 500 staff members signed an open letter calling on the University to commit to a modest salary sacrifice scheme for the most highly-paid staff in order to protect staff workloads and the integrity of our educational offerings, and to protect the jobs of junior colleagues, as has been done at numerous other higher education institutions (e.g. KCL and Edinburgh) and by key business partners of Warwick, such as Jaguar Land Rover. The government’s Department for Education has also called on Universities to cut executive pay. Council has responded by reiterating that it was choosing to “protect jobs” by reducing “the sessional teaching budget” in their email response from 20 July.
  6. According to the May 2020 UCU Precarity Report, 43% of teaching-only contracts at Warwick are sessional (hourly-paid), and 18% of BAME colleagues are on STP contracts, compared with only 14% of white colleagues. Yet senior management presented these cuts to Heads of Department without consulting Trade Unions or Senate about their financial basis or academic impact; no Equality Impact Assessment has been shared or circulated for consultation purposes.

 

This Assembly believes that:

 

  1. Staff on STP and casualised contracts play a key role in delivering high quality teaching at the University of Warwick. Cutting these jobs will be counterproductive to achieving the University’s educational strategy and will grossly harm student experience, both in the short and the long term.
  2. These cuts will put an entire generation of junior scholars in jeopardy: many STP and casualised staff are current PhDs, postdocs, early career or other precarious academics who rely on this work for career development as well as remuneration.
  3. The loss of STP hours alongside the need to prepare f2f, online and blended learning options will create increased workload pressures on permanent and fixed term colleagues, and will compromise staff wellbeing.
  4. The University has not addressed workload in its current wellbeing strategy.
  5. The decision to cut 50% of the sessional teaching budget has a significant impact on the academic life of the University and thus requires the agreement of Senate before going to Council.
  6. Cutting these jobs will undermine the University’s stated commitments to diversity, equality and inclusion, both because casualised contracts are disproportionately held by BAME and female academics and because the resulting workload increase will inevitably affect those staff with care commitments and the heaviest workloads.

 

This assembly resolves that:

  1. The University of Warwick set a positive example to the sector, deliver on its commitments to better the employment conditions of casualised staff and protect all jobs on campus by acknowledging, with a public statement, that sessional teaching staff jobs are in fact jobs.
  2. Cuts to sessional teaching should be paused until a complete Equality Impact Assessment has been carried out and any mitigation strategies implemented.
  3. Cuts should be paused until proper consultations have been carried out with Senate and with Trade Unions.
  4. Cuts to the STP budget should be considered only as a last resort, once all other avenues have been exhausted and Senate has approved an academic quality mitigation strategy.

 

Proposed by Myka Tucker-Abramson

Seconded by Michael Saward

 

Warwick UCU Guide to Carrying out Risk Assessments

A PDF version is (available here)

Thank you so much for stepping up and helping to keep our campus safe by participating in the risk assessment process. Employers have a duty to consult with their employees on health and safety matters and this means that they must share risk assessments with union representatives and must address any reasonable concerns. This is a very important process because it allows us to flag up and resolve potential hazards.

We know that many of you have not been trained and so may feel daunted by the task at hand, but don’t worry. While you may not be an expert at risk assessments, you do know your workplace well and that’s the most important thing. The rest of it is mostly common sense and thinking about how the building is used and how people move around in the space(s). And if you have any questions or concerns, we can help you out.

To get you started, we’ve put together this guide and links to further resources to help you understand what a risk assessment is and things to look out for.

What is a risk assessment?

A risk assessment is really just the technical term to describe a document that both identifies potential health and safety hazards and outlines the ways that the University will act to minimise risks to staff or anyone else on the site.

How do I evaluate a risk assessment? What should I be looking for?

Worksmart.org has put together a helpful guide that outlines how risk assessments should be developed. We’d suggest taking a quick look at this so that you can determine whether the risk assessment you’re being asked to look over is effective: https://worksmart.org.uk/health-advice/health-and-safety/hazards-and-risks/what-are-five-steps-risk-assessment

As you’re reading over the risk assessment, consider the following:

  • Risk assessments need to identify all potential hazards and risks within the workplace and they should consider all those who could be harmed by the hazards identified including employees, students, contractors, visitors, members of the public and so on. The risk assessment should capture what actually happens in practice and include any non-routine tasks that may be carried out specifically because of Covid-19. Think about what kinds of activities are carried out in the area and ask yourself: Has the risk assessment in front of you accurately described all the potential hazards or are there other hazards that need to be mentioned? Remember that it’s not just physical health; stress and mental health are also hazards that the University is legally obligated to address.
  • Risk assessments should specifically consider the risks to temporary workers, new or expectant mothers and young people. They should also  consider the unequal impact of Covid-19 and those who are at increased risk of contracting covid-19 and suffering poorer outcomes (i.e. underlying health conditions, older age, pregnancy, BAME groups, and men). Has this happened and if not, where could it happen?
  • Risk assessments are as much about mitigating risks and hazards as they are about identifying them. Read through the proposed strategies for mitigation and ask yourself: Are the proposed strategies for minimising risk effective or could they be doing more? Do these strategies make you feel safer? And if not – what would be required to provide that confidence?

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us and email our Health & Safety officer, Claire Daffern at c.daffern@warwick.ac.uk.

 

Useful Resources

 

 

Over 500 University of Warwick Staff Demand Salary Cut for Highest Paid to Save Low-Earning Teachers

Over 500 University of Warwick staff signed an open letter calling on the University to enact a modest salary sacrifice scheme for those earning over £90k/year in order to protect the jobs of casualised staff and protect staff workload.

This morning, Warwick UCU sent the letter to Stuart Croft and the rest of UEB Gold, alongside a suggested model for what such a sacrifice scheme will look like.

We look forward to their response.

 

Salary level Reduction level Number of staff Saving generated
£90,000 – £99,999 5% 200? £0.95 million
£100,000 – £149,999 15% >140 £2.47 million
£150,000 – £199,999 20% >40 £1.16 million
£200,000 – £300,000 25% 7 £0.36 million
Over £300,000 30% 1 (VC) £0.09 million*
TOTAL £5.03 million

*In 2018/9 the Vice-Chancellor received £303k basic salary, but received £370k ‘Total emoluments (including taxable and non-taxable benefits-in-kind)’. This calculation is based on a 30% reduction in basic salary only.

 

 

Defend Casualised Staff, Protect All Our Workloads,

In his very first message, at the start of the Covid19 crisis, Stuart Croft pledged that Warwick will protect jobs. But recently the Provost, Chris Ennew, has announced plans to cut the Sessional Teaching (STP) budget by 50%. This decision appears to pre-empt other efforts to find savings in next year’s operating budget, such as a Voluntary Leaver Scheme, Career Break scheme, or salary sacrifice scheme. According to HESA data, 72.6% of staff at Warwick are employed on casualised contracts. Sessional tutors are essential in the delivery of high quality teaching and student-support. And yet, according to Ennew, the STP budget makes up only 15% of the University’s annual teaching budget and cutting it by half would save the university ca. £5.5mil.

We, the undersigned, do not believe that the University should be transferring a significant proportion of the financial burden of cost saving measures onto our casualised staff who are the least able to afford it, and in the current climate, will struggle to find alternative work.

The University’s policy will

⧪ create immediate financial hardship for colleagues who rely on income from sessional teaching to make ends meet, at a time when there are no reasonable prospects of comparable jobs elsewhere

⧪ jeopardise the career prospects of a generation of  early career academics by denying them access to the academic community. Without access to teaching opportunities, to colleagues, to the library and laboratories, our junior colleagues will be unable to continue their academic work and research and will therefore struggle to re-enter academia in the future, particularly in an environment where permanent jobs are already scarce and every publication matters. The loss of early-career academics will have a detrimental impact on future research, teaching, and diversity of thought.

⧪ create an institute-wide Health & Safety crisis. Sessional Tutors are essential to the delivery of high quality teaching during less eventful times, and this crisis will make their work ever more business-critical. Without Sessional Tutors, already unmanageable workloads will reach a crisis point.

⧪ undermine the University’s stated commitments to diversity, equality, and inclusion. We know that casualisation exacerbates existing inequalities and that because of discrimination, casualised contracts are disproportionately held by BAME academics and female academics. The workload increase that result from cutting casualised staff will inevitably affect those staff who have have the heaviest workloads, most of whom are women, BAME and carers.

If we are to avoid this scenario, Warwick must commit to protecting all of its staff. Thus, we the undersigned are petitioning for the following measures.

  1. That the University reverse its stated aims of reducing the STP budget and commit to protecting all jobs.
  2. That the University commit to a salary sacrifice scheme in which all of those who earn more than £90k agree to either a salary cap or to a percentage sacrifice.
  3. That University Management open its books and engage with all staff and workers democratically and transparently in deciding how savings can be made.
Valentina Abbatelli, Teaching Fellow, School of Modern Languages and Cultures
Sara Abdel Ghany, PhD Candidate, Politics and International Studies
Mahmoud Abdou, Associate Tutor & PhD Candidate, Politics and International Studies
Liz Ablett, Dr, Sociology
Columba Achilleos-Sarll, PhD Student, Politics and International Studies
Christine Achinger, Associate Professor, German Studies, School of Modern Languages
Arun Advani, Assistant Prof, Economics
Chloe Agg, Senior Teaching Fellow, School of Engineering
Jeremy Ahearne, Professor, School of Modern Languages and Cultures
Theo Aiolfi, PhD Candidate, Politics and International Studies
Ashjan Ajour, Teaching Fellow in Sociology, Sociology Department
Shahnaz Akhter, Doctoral Candidate, PAIS
Fırat Akova, PhD Candidate and Seminar Tutor, Philosophy
Bogdan Alecu, PhD student, Mathematics
Safiya Ali, PhD Candidate, Politics and International Studies
Maryam Aliee, Research Fellow, Mathematics
Ana Aliverti, Reader, Law
Stuart Allen, Director of PGT, School of Life Sciences
Carolina Alonso Bejarno, Senior Teaching Fellow, Law School
Will Amos, Assistant Professor, SMLC
Alex Andreou, PhD Student, Philosophy
Harry Andrews, MPhil Student, Philosophy
Keith Ansell-Pearson, Professor, Philosophy
Becky Appleton, PhD Student/VAM & STP worker, Warwick Medical School
Simon Arthur, PhD candidate, Sociology
Esther Asprey, Senior Teaching Fellow, Applied Linguistics
Benjamin Atkins, PDRA, Zeeman Institute (SBIDER)
Hannah Ayres, PhD Student & Previous Sessional Teacher, Sociology
Claude Baesens, Associate Professor, Mathematics
Sameer Bajaj, Assistant Professor, Philosophy
Emmanuela Bakola, Associate Professor in Ancient Greek Language and Literature, Classics and Ancient History
Kate Bamford, PhD student and sessional teacher, Life Sciences
Jack Bara, Postgraduate Student, Mathematics
Dwight Barkley, Professor, Mathematics
Isabelle Barrett, PhD Student, Psychology
Sumedha Basu, PhD candidate, PAIS
Chloe Batten, Education Officer and Deputy President, Warwick Students’ Union
Alberica Bazzoni, British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Modern Languages and Cultures
Nicole Beardsworth, Postdoctoral Fellow, PAIS
Guillaume Beaumier, PhD candidate, PAIS
Miguel Beistegui, Professor, Philosophy
Ceren Bengu Cibik, Phd Candidate, Economics
Carrie Benjamin, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, Sociology
Matt Bennett, Fixed term lecturer, Philosophy, University of Cambridge
Nicholas Bernards, Assistant Professor, Global Sustainable Development
Dan Bernhardt, Professor, Economics
Francesca Berry, Senior Lecturer, Art History, University of Birmingham
Eloïse Bertrand, PGR Student/Associate Tutor, PAIS
Roxanne Bibizadeh, ECIF, Research Fellow, Module Convenor, IAS, Computer Science, IATL
Somak Biswas, Sessional Tutor, University of Warwick, Sociology
Roberta Bivins, Professor, History
Simon Blake, Teaching Fellow, Economics
Philippe Blanchard, Associate professor, PAIS
Claire Blencowe, Associate Professor, Sociology
Hannah Boast, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, English
Christian Boehning, Associate Professor, Mathematics
Natasha Bondre, Sessional Tutor and Ph.D student, English and Comparative Literary Studies
Alexandra Borrill, PhD student, Chemistry
Pierre Botcherby, PhD Candidate, Sessional Tutor, Administrative Assistant Warwick Oral History Network, History
Louise Bourdua, Professor, History of Art
Jo Bowers, Widening Access Officer, SROAS
Anna Brinkman, Sessional Tutor, Hispanic Studies
Martin Brock, PhD Student, Warwick Business School
Peter Brommer, Associate Professor, Engineering
Andrew Brown, Associate Tutor, Mathematics
David Brown, Research assistant, Sociology
Rob Bryer, Emeritus Porfessor of Accounting, Warwick Business School
Andrew Burchell, Research Fellow, Department of History
Tim Burnett, Senior Teaching Fellow Liberal Arts, Liberal Arts
Diogo Caetano, PhD student, Mathematics
Diego Calderon, Phd student, Economics
Lucy Campbell, Assistant Professor, Philosophy
Emma Campbell, Associate Professor, SMLC
Sara Cannizzaro, Research Fellow, Warwick Manufacturing Group
Carlos Cardona-Andrade, PhD Student, Economics
Diogo Carneiro, PhD candidate, Philosophy
Rebecca Carnevali, PhD graduate, Centre for Renaissance Studies
Mick Carpenter, Emeritus Professor, Sociology
Isabelle Carre, Professor, School of Life Sciences
Henrique Carvalho, Associate Professor, School of Law
Nora Castle, PhD Student, English and Comparative Literary Studies
Olga Castro, Assistant Prof, SMLC
Costas Cavounidis, Assistant Professor, Economics
Anastasia Chamberlen, Associate Professor of Sociology, Sociology
Giulia Champion, PhD Candidate, English and Comparative Literary Studies
Nickie Charles, Professor, Sociology
Jane Charlesworth, Senior Research Fellow in Pathogen Evolution, Warwick Medical School
Charlotte Brunsdon, Professor of Film and Television Studies, Film and Television Studies
Stella Chatzitheochari, Associate Professor, Sociology
Lucas Chebib, MPhil Student, Philosophy
Yin Chen, Professor, School of Life Sciences
Song-Chuan Chen, Associate Professor, History
Romain Chenet, Sessional tutor and PhD student, University of Warwick, Sociology
Matt Chennells, PhD student, Philosophy
Meryem Choukri, PhD candidate, German Studies Warwick University
Pedro CL Souza, Assistant Professor, Economics
Georgia Clancy, PhD student/ Sessional Teacher, Sociology
Megan Clarke, Warwick SU Education Officer-elect, History
Jonathan Clarke, Senior Teaching Fellow, Global Sustainable Development
Chris Clarke, Associate Professor, PAIS
Guy Clarkson, Research Fellow, Chemistry
Mat Coakley, Teaching Fellow, Philosophy
Michela Coletta, Assistant Professor, SMLC
Lucia Collischonn, PhD Candidate, Warwick Writing Programme
Colm Connaughton, Professor, Mathematics
Charlotte Connor, Senior Research Fellow, Clinical Trials Unit
Andrew Cooper, Assistant Professor, Philosophy
Alex Corcos, Sessional Tutor, School of Modern Languages and Cultures
Chris Corre, Associate Professor, Dept of Chemistry and School of Life Sciences
Diarmuid Costello, Professor of Philososopy, Philosophy
Camillia Cowling, Associate Professor, History
Sam Coy, PhD Candidate, Computer Science
Fabiola Creed, ECF, History
Ron Crump, Research Fellow, SBIDER/Maths/LifeSci
Mark Cummings, Teaching Fellow, Mathematics
Claire Daffern, QA Manager, WMS
Nadeen Dakkak, PhD Candidate, English and Comparative Literary Studies
Irene Dal Poz, Early Career Fellow, IAS
Emma Davis, PhD student and casual support teacher, Mathematics Institute
Naomi de la Tour, Senior Teaching Fellow, IATL
Carolin Debray, Senior Teaching Fellow, Applied Linguistics
Andreas Dedner, Assitant Professor, Mathematics
Divya Deepthi, Research Fellow, Economics
Riccardo Degasperi, PhD Student, Economics
Ariane Demeure-Ahearne, Senior Teaching Fellow, School of Modern Languages
Matt Denny, Teaching Fellow, Film and Television Studies
Ed DeVane, PhD Candidate, History
Jessica Di Salvatore, Associate Professor, PAIS
Peter Dickinson, Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Employment Research
Andreas Dimmelmeier, PhD candidate, Politics and International Studies
Natalya Din-Kariuki, Assistant Professor, English and Comparative Literary Studies
Monica Dinu, Postgraduate Coordinator, Mathematics
Alex Dixon, Tutor, Computer Science
Maria do Mar, Associate Professor, Sociology
Melina Dobson, Sessional Tutor/Early Career Fellow, Politics and International Studies
Melina Dobson, Associate Tutor/Early Career Fellow, Politics and International Studies Department
Callum Doherty, Undergraduate, Philosophy
Susan Doughty, Administrator, Classics and Ancient History
Roxanne Douglas, IAS Early Career Fellow and Sessional Tutor, IAS/ English and Comparative Literary Studies
Douglas Morrey, Reader in French, School of Modern Languages and Cultures
Roxanne Douglas, STP tutor, English and Comparative Literary Studies
Rosie Doyle, Senior Teaching Fellow in Latin American History, History
Jamie Draper, Teaching Fellow, Politics and International Studies
Špela Drnovšek Zorko, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, Sociology
Dana Druka, Research Assistant, Chemistry
Emily Dunford, PhD Student, Theatre and Performance
Peter Dwyer, Teaching Fellow, GSD
Scott Dwyer, PhD student, School of Life Sciences
Christopher Earley, PhD student, Philosophy
Jake Edwards, PhD student, Film & Television Studies
Nick Edwards, Undergraduate Coordinator, History
Amira Elasra, Senior Teaching Fellow, Economics
Juanita Elias, Professor, PAIS
Adam Epstein, Reader, Mathematics
Carmela Esposito Faraoine, STP Language Tutor, Language Centre SMLC
Brigid Evans, PhD Student and Sessional Tutor, Philosophy
Pablo F. Beker, Associate Professor, Economics
Ian Farnell, STP Tutor, Theatre & Performance Studies
Lorenzo Feltrin, Research Assistant, Sociology
Thiemo Fetzer, Associate Professor of Economics, Economics
Barbel Finkenstadt, Professor, Statistics
Nicholas Fleming, PhD student, Mathematics
Robin Flint, Quality Assurance and Exams Coordinator, Economics
Matthew Ford, Technical Support Coordinator, Technical Services.
Ross Forman, Associate Professor, English and Comparative Literary Studies
Tana Forrest, PhD candidate, Sociology
Felix Forster, PhD Student, Economics
Peter Fossey, Senior Academic Developer, ADC
Emma Francis, Associate Professor, English and Comparative Literary Studies
Daniel Franklin, Senior Teaching Fellow, School of Life Sciences
Matthew Franks, Assistant Professor, English and Comparative Literary Studies
Lucy Freedman, PhD student, English and Drama, Queen Mary University
Simon Gabriel, Postgraduate Student, Mathematics Institute, University of Warwick
Lucie Gadenne, Lecturer, Economics
Manuela Galetto, Associate Professor, Warwick Business School
Simon Gansinger, PhD student and Sessional Tutor, Philosophy
Elizabeth Gaylard, Teaching Fellow and Personal Tutor, Centre for Teaching Education
Martha Gayoye, PhD Candidate, School of Law
Laura Gelhaus, PhD candidate, PAIS
Craig Gent, PhD alumni, CIM
Agelos Georgakopoulos, Reader, Maths
Adela Gherga, EPSRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Mathematics
Atisha Ghosh, Teaching Fellow, Economics
Michele Giavazzi, PhD Student, Philosophy
Jenna Gillett, Research Assistant, Psychology
John Gilmore, Reader, English and Comparative Literary Studies
Elena Giusti, Assistant Professor in Latin Literature and Language, Classics and Ancient History
Adam Golab, PhD Student, Mathematics
Susana Gomes, Warwick Zeeman Lecturer, Mathematics
Erin Gorsich, Assistant Professor, School of Life Sciences
James Griffin, Research Associate, Warwick Medical School
David Grundy, British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, English and Comparative Literary Studies
Stephen Gundle, Professor, Film and Television Studies
Amul Gyawali, PhD Student, English & Comparative Literary Studies
Anna Hajkova, Associate Professor, History
Emma Hall, PhD Candidate and Associate Tutor, PAIS
Cathy Hampton, Associate Professor, SMLC
Natalie Hanley-Smith, IAS ecf and stp tutor, History
Kirsten Harris, Senior Teaching Fellow, Liberal Arts
Jamelia Harris, Teaching Fellow, PAIS
Freya Harrison, Associate Professor, Life Sciences
Joseph Harrison, PhD Student / Sessional Teacher, Film and Television Studies
Tilly Harrison, Associate Professor, Applied Linguistics
Rumana Hashem, Associate Tutor in PAIS, University of Warwick
Sara Hattersley, Senior Academic Developer, Academic Development Centre
Michael Hattersley, PhD Student, Psychology
Abi Hawtin, Research Impact Coordinator, Research & Impact Services
Charlotte Heath-Kelly, Reader, PAIS
Joo Hee Oh, Assistant professor, WMG
Susannah Heffernan Smith, PhD student, Warwick Writing Programme
David Helekal, CDT Student, Mathematics
Tom Hemingway, PhD Candidate, Film and Television Studies, University of Warwick
Sacha Hepburn, Teaching Fellow in African History, History
Sky Herington, PhD candidate, French
Erika Herrera, PhD student / Sessional tutor, Sociology
Jae Hetterley, Sessional Tutor, Philosophy
Nick Hewlett, Professor of French Studies, School of Modern Languages and Cultures
Joe Hilton, Research associate, Zeeman Insitute
Michaela Hodges, ED&I Coordinator, Wellbeing Support Services
Alice Hodson, PhD Student, Maths
Nadine Holdsworth, Professor, Theatre and Performance Studies
samuel honsbeek, PhD student, STA, philosophy
Amanda Hopkins, Teaching Fellow, SMLC
Simon Horton, Alumni, Philosophy
Tony Howard, Professor, English and Comparative Literature
Donna Howe, Administrator, Warwick Clinical Trials Unit
Marije Hristova, Postdoctoral researcher, Hispanic Studies
Thomas Hudson, Assistant Professor, Mathematics Institute
Bee Hughes, Sessional Lecturer, Liverpool John Moores University
Esthie Hugo, PhD Student, English and Comparative Literary Studies
Keith Hyams, Reader, PAIS
Cinzia Imberti, Postdoctoral research fellow, Chemistry
Maria Inês Castro e Silva, PhD Student, Hispanic Studies
Maria Inês, PhD Student, Hispanic Studies
Demet Intepe, PhD student and Sessional Tutor, English and Comparative Literary Studies
Marco J Haenssgen, Assistant Professor, Global Sustainable Development
Peter J Hammond, Professor, Economics
Nicholas Jackson, Senior Teaching Fellow, Mathematics and Economics
Stephen Jackson, Associate Professor, Life Sciences
Dino Jakusic, Sessional Tutor, Philosophy
David James, Associate Professor, Philosophy
Rita Jane Dashwood, Sessional Tutor, Department of English
Tina Janssen, PhD Candidate, English and Comparative Literary Studies
Farzad Javidanrad, Teaching Fellow, Economics
David Jenkins, Postdoctoral Fellow, Philosophy
Eric Jensen, Associate Professor, Sociology
Joseph Jerome, PhD student, Statistics
Eileen John, Reader, Philosophy
Andy Johnson, Widening Participation Officer, SROAS
Briony Jones, Associate Professor, Politics and International Studies
Hannah Jones, Associate Professor, Sociology
Justine Mercer, Associate Professor, Education Studies
Nisha Kapoor, Associate Professor, Sociology
Alexander Karalis Isaac, Senior Teaching Fellow, Economics
Antonios Karatzas, External Project Supervisor, WMG
Daniel Katz, Professor, English and Comparative Literary Studies
Arjumand Kazmi, Teaching Fellow, School of Law
Maria Kehr, Widening Participation Coordinator, SROAS
Tom Kelly, PhD student, Psychology
Abby Kendrick, Senior Teaching Fellow, PAIS
Igor Khovanov, Associate Professor, School of Engineering
Erika Kispeter, Senior Research Fellow, Warwick Institute for Employment Research
Jennifer Kitchen, Associate Tutor/Coordinator, Education Studies/IATL
Andrea Klaus, Associate Professor (Teaching), SMLC
Julian Koch, Teaching Fellow, German
George Kontogeorgiou, PhD student, Mathematics
Jere Koskela, Assistant Professor, Statistics
Ilan Kremer, Professor, Economics
Tor Krever, Assistant Professor, Law
Aleksandra Krogulska, PhD Student, Psychology
Caroline Kuzemko, Associate Professor, PAIS
Max Lacertosa, Teaching Fellow, Philosophy
Cath Lambert, Associate Professor, Sociology
Laura Lammasniemi, Assistant professor, Law school
Richard Lampard, Associate Professor, Sociology
Cecilia Lanata-Briones, Teaching Fellow, Economics
Nicholas Lawrence, Associate Professor, English & Comparative Literary Studies
Neil Lazarus, Professor, English and Comparative Literary Studies
Chrisopher Lazda, Warwick Zeeman Lecturer, Mathematics
Philippe Le Goff, Assistant Professor, SMLC
Dennis Leech, Emeritus professor, Economics
Duncan Lees, PhD candidate / associate tutor, Centre for Education Studies
Katharina Lefringhausen, Assistant Professor, Centre for Applied Linguistics
Anita Lenneis, PhD Student, Psychology
Alice Leonard, Precarious Early Career Researcher, Institute of Advanced Study and English Literature
Clive Letchford, Senior Teaching Fellow, Department of Classics and Ancient History
Sara Lever, Service Owner, IT Service
Rachel Lewis, Sessional teacher, Sociology
Pei Liang, External Supervisor, WMG
Tony Liddicoat, Professor, Centre for Applied Linguistics
John Lindley, Data Entry Clerk, Clinical Trials Unit
Jayanthi Lingham, Postdoctoral research fellow, PAIS
Steve Locke-Wheaton, Community Engagement Coordinator (Undergraduate & Teaching), Library
Christine Lockey, PDRA, Chemistry
Georg Löfflmann, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, PAIS
Tom Long, Associate Professor, Politics and International Studies
Gianluca Lorenzini, PhD Student, Philosophy
Daniele Lorenzini, Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy
Bruno Luciano, Teaching Fellow, PAIS
Eleanor Lutman-White, PhD student, Centre for Lifelong Learning
Dimitrios Lygkonis, PhD student, Mathematics/Statistics
Gabrielle Lynch, Professor, PAIS
Graeme Macdonald, Professor, English and Comparative Literary Studies
Ninna Makrinov, UG Skills Programme Co-ordinator, Student Opportunity
Samuel Maloney, PhD Student and STP Tutor, Physics
Mario Micallef, Associate Professor, Mathematics
Andrew Marsh, Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry
Thomas Martin, Senior Teaching Fellow, Economics
Mónica Martín-Castaño, Senior Teaching Fellow, SMLC
Kelly Mayjonade-Christy, Teaching Fellow, French Studies
June Mc Cready, Teaching Fellow, Centre for Applied Linguistics
Noel McCarthy, Professor, Warwick Medical School
Catherine McCarthy, Research Officer, Widening Participation
Stacey McDowell, Assistant Professor, English and Comparative Literary Studies
Catherine McNicholl, Widening Participation & Outreach Manager, SROAS
Francesca Melhuish, PhD Candidate, Politics and International Studies
Gabriel Meloni, PDRA, Chemistry
Philippe Michaud-Rodgers, Postgraduate Student, Mathematics
Mihai Balnescu , Academic Writing Consultant, Student Opportunity (Student Development dept))
Sander Molenaar, PhD candidate/STP tutor, History
Sander Molenaar, PhD Candidate, History
David Mond, Professor, Mathematics Institute
Charlotte Moonan, Business Development & Marketing Officer, School of Life Sciences
Richard Moore, Senior Research Fellow, Philosophy
Lauren Moore, Impact Coordinator, Research and impact services
Sara Morales Izquierdo, PhD student, Psychology
Joel Moreira, Assistant Professor, Mathematics
Javier Moreno Zacarés, Research Fellow, Politics and International Studies
Louise Morgan, PhD Student and Sessional Tutor, History
Solange Mouthaan, Associate Professor, Law
Maeve Moynihan, WICID Administrator, Politics and International Studies
Tara Mulqueen, Assistant Professor, Law
Kenichi Nagasawa, Assistant Professor, Economics
Rosalyn Narayan, Student Experience and Engagement Coordinator, Economics
Raquel Navas, Teaching Fellow, School of Modern Languages and Cultures
Jayan Nayar, Associate Professor, School of Law
Mahnaz Nazneen, Teaching Fellow, Economics
Rosa Nazzaro, Sessional tutor, School of Modern Languages and Cultures
Phillip Nelson, Research Fellow, PAIS
Zahra Newby, Head of Department, Classics and Ancient History
Michael Niblett, Associate Professor, English
David Nicoll, Phd candidate, History
Chenwei Nie, PhD candidate, Philosophy
Filip Niklas, PhD candidate, Philosophy
Muireann O’Dwyer, Teaching Fellow in British and European Politics, Politics and International Studies
Rachel O’Neill, Wellcome Fellow in Humanities and Social Sciences, Sociology
Marcel Obst, PhD Student, Sociology
Christine Okoth, Research Fellow, English and Comparative Literature
Meleisa Ono-George, Associate Professor, History
Martin Orr, Warwick Zeeman Lecturer, Mathematics
Goldie Osuri, Associate Professor, Sociology
Andrew Oswald, Professor, Economics
Upamanyu Pablo Mukherjee, Professor, English and Comparative Literary Studies
Gioia Panzarella, Teaching Fellow, Global Sustainable Development
Stefania Paredes Fuentes, Associate Professor, Economics
Melissa Pawelski, PhD Student at Warwick and Sessional Tutor, School of Modern Languages and Cultures (French), Warwick
Lynne Pettinger, Associate Prof, Sociology
Tom pettinger, associate tutor / phd student, PAIS
Oleg Pikhurko, Professor, Mathematics
Harry Pitt Scott, PhD student, English
Piermarco Piu, PhD Student / Sessional tutor, Sociology
Nicola Pratt, Reader, International Politics of the Middle East, Politics & International Studies
Paul Prescott, Reader, English
Laura Prisco, PhD Student, School of Life Sciences
Caroline Proctor, IT Manager, School of Law
Maria Puig de la Bellacasa, Associate Professor, Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies
Kevin Purdy, Associate Professor, School of lIfe Sciences
Pierre Purseigle, Associate Professor, History
Richard Puxty, Assistant Professor, Life Sciences
Mariana Racimo, PhD student, Economics
Shirin Rai, Professor, PAIS
Tania Read, Research Fellow, Chemistry
Benjamin Redding, Sessional Tutor since 2014, History
Melissa Reddy, PhD Student, Psychology
Michela Redoano, Associate Professor, Economics
Sophie Rees, Research Fellow, Warwick Medical School
Scott Regan, Senior Project Manager, WMS
Nicole Reily, PhD student, Chemistry
Lena Rethel, Associate Professor, PAIS
Maria Reyes Baztán, PhD History, History
Maria Reyes, PhD student and STP, History
Giovanni Ricco, Assistant Professor, Economics
Thomas Richards, PhD Student, Mathematics
Ben Richardson, Associate Professor, PAIS
Noorin Rodenhurst, PhD Student, Psychology
Johannes Roessler, Associate Professor (Reader), Philosophy
Nicola Rogers, Research Fellow, Chemistry
Charlotte Roman, PhD Student, Mathematics for Real-world Systems
Anna Ross, Associate Professor, History
Federico Rossi, Assistant Professor, Economics
Christopher Roth, Assistant Professor, Economics
Clare Rowan, Associate Professor, Classics and Ancient History
William Rupp, Senior Academic Developer, Organisational Development
Chris Russell-Smith, PhD candidate, Philosophy
Kristyna Rysava, PhD Candidate and Casual Support Teacher, School of Life Sciences
Orkun S Soyer, Professor, School of Life Sciences
Parastou Saberi, British Academy Newton Int. Fellow, PAIS
Raza Saeed, Assistant Professor, Law
Michael Samuel, Sessional Tutor, Film and TV studies
Marta Santamaria, Assistant Professor, Economics
Aditya Sarkar, Associate Professor, History
Sudipa Sarkar, Research Fellow, Institute for Employment Research
Jessica Savage, Senior Teaching Fellow, Global Sustainable Development
Michael Saward, Professor, PAIS
Saul Schleimer, Reader, Mathematics
Helmut Schmitz, Professor of German Studies, School of Modern Languages and Cultures
Laura Schwartz, Reader in Modern British History, History
Gavin Schwartz-Leeper, Deputy Head of School of Cross-faculty Studies, Liberal Arts
Christine Schwöbel-Patel, Associate Professor, Law
Greg Scott, QA Support Officer, CTU
Leon Sealey-Huggins, Assistant Professor, Global Sustainable Development
Sharifah Sekalala, Associate Professor, Law
Benedict Sewell, PhD student, Mathematics
Jack Shardlow, Associate Tutor, Philosophy
Gerard Sharpling, Senior Teaching Fellow, Centre for Applied Linguistics
Osian Shelley, PhD Student, Mathematics
Aditi Shenvi, PhD student, Centre for complexity science/Department of Mathematics
Stan Shire, Associate Professor of Sustainable Energy Systems, School of Engineering
Rochelle Sibley, Senior Teaching Fellow, English and Comparative Literary Studies
Igor Sikora, PhD Student, Mathematics
Gabriel Siles-Brugge, Associate Professor in Public Policy, PAIS
Shantanu Singh, PhD Student, Economics
Shubhra Singh, PhD student, Economics
Harminder Singh, Senior Teaching Fellow, WBS
Jonathan Skinner, Reader, English and Comparative Literary Studies
Jonathan Skipp, PhD Student, Centre for Complexity Science
Anna Skorobogatova, PhD student, Mathematics
Alastair Smith, Senior Teaching Fellow, Global Sustainable Development
Richard Smith, Reader, Applied Linguistics
Jennifer Smith, Associate Professor, Director PGT, Economics
JE Smyth, Professor, History
Somak Biswas, Early Career Fellow, History
Emma Southall, PhD Student and Teaching Assistant, Mathematics
Tommer Spence, PhD Student & STP Facilitator, Warwick Medical School
Helen Spencer-Oatey, Professor, Applied Linguistics
James Sprittles, Associate Professor (Reader), Maths
Vicki Squire, Professor of International Politics, Politics and International Studies
Michael Staniforth, Senior Research Fellow, Chemistry
Anastasia Stavridou, PhD Candidate and Sessional Tutor, Centre for Applied Linguistics (CAL)
Leo Steeds, Early Career Fellow, IAS
Dave Steele, PhD candidate, History
A. Stefano Caria, Associate Professor, Economics
Charlotte Stevens, PhD Candidate, SLS
Shaun Stevenson, PhD Student/Module Tutor, Philosophy
Ann Stewart, Professor, School of Law
Zak Stinchcombe, PhD Candidate, Philosophy
Bjorn Stinner, Associate Professor, Mathematics
Katherine Stone, Assistant Professor, SMLC
Mark Storey, Associate Professor, English & Comparative Literary Studies
Celine Tan, Reader, Law
Shahin Tavakoli, Assistant Professor of Statistics, Statistics
James Taylor, Teaching Fellow, Film and Television Studies
Esmee te Winkel, PhD Student, STP teacher, Maths
Irina Terrero Rodriguez, PhD student, Chemistry
Caryn Thandi Petersen, PhD Student, Sociology
Florian Theil, Reader, Mathematics
Adam Thomas, Assistant Professor, Mathematics
Jake Thomas, PhD Student (and Teach via STP), Mathematics
Simon Thorpe, Associate Tutor, Law
Jo Tierney, STP Tutor, History
Julie Tod, Senior Research Technician, School of Life Sciences
P Tomlin, Reader, Philosophy
Alperen Tosun, Research Student, Economics
Myka Tucker-Abramson, Assistant Professor, English and Comparative Literary Studies
Joshua Tully, PhD Student, Chemistry
Daniel Ueltschi, Professor, Mathematics
Alex Underwood, PhD candidate and STA, Philosophy
Sivamohan Valluvan, Assistant Professor, Sociology
Guido van Meersbergen, Assistant Professor, History
Thijs van Rens, Associate Professor, Economics
Caitlin Vandertop, Assistant Professor, English and Comparative Literary Studies
Maude Vanhaelen, Reader in Classics, Classics and SMLC
Rashmi Varma, Reader, English and Comparative Literary Studies
Alejandro Veiga, PhD student / STP tutor, Hispanic Studies
Christian Velasco, Early Career Fellow, IAS, Institute of Advanced Studies, Warwick
Erwin Verwichte, Reader, Physics
Leticia Villamediana, Senior Teaching Fellow, SMLC
David Vitale, Assistant Professor, Law
Lara Vomfell, PhD Student, WBS
Khursheed Wadia, Associate Professor, Sociology
Oba Waiyaki, PhD Student, Computer Science
Barnaby Walker, Teaching Fellow, Philosophy
Leigh Walker, Research Impact Coordinator, Research and Impact Services
Illan Wall, Reader, School of Law
Bingsong Wang, Teaching Fellow, Economics
Paul Warmington, Professor, Education
Mike Waterson, Professor of Economics (part time), Economics
Sam Watson, Associate Professor, Warwick Medical School
Matthew Watson, Professor, Politics and International Studies
Julia Welland, Assistant Professor, PAIS
Sue Wharton, Associate Professor, Applied Linguistics
Tom Whittaker, Head of Hispanic Studies, School of Modern Languages and Cultures
David Wild, Professor, Statistics
Harrison Wilde, PhD Researcher, Sessional Tutor, Statistics and Computer Science
Carl wilkinson, Lab technician, School of life sciences
Chris Williams, EPSRC Postdoctoral Fellow, Mathematics
Leanne Williams, Associate Professor Teaching Fellow, School of Life Sciences
Jon Winfield, PhD Student, IER
Georgia Wood, PhD student, Chemistry
Caroline Wright, Associate Professor, Sociology
Sally Wright, Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Employment Research
David Wright, Associate Professor, Centre for Cultural and Media Policy Studies, School of Creative Arts, Performance and Visual Cultures.
Chantal Wright, Interim Director, Warwick Writing Programme
Apurav Yash Bhatiya, PhD Student, Economics
Fuk Ying Tse, Associate Tutor, Early Career Fellow, Warwick Business School
Mert Yirmibes, PhD Student, Philosophy
Philip Young, Associate Professor, Life Sciences
Ahmet Yusuf Aydin, PhD Student, Economics
Nazifa Zaman, Student, co-ethnic minorities Officer WSU, History
Stanislav Zhydkov, PhD student, Associate Tutor, Mathematics Institute
Velimir Zivkovic, Assistant Professor, Law
Agathe Zobenbuller, Teaching Fellow, School of Modern Languages
Nikolaos Zygouras, Professor, Mathematics

 

UCU Warwick: Statement of Expectation on Education Strategy and Workload Management

Warwick UCU has submitted the following statement of expectations to University management, asking that Warwick (a) acknowledge now that staff will need to develop fully online teaching for all modules running in Term 1, in order to give staff time to skill up and plan appropriately; (b) create a university-wide framework for workload management; and (c) acknowledge the extra work that moving online will entail by providing an incentivised system of deferred benefits.

UCU Warwick: Statement of Expectation on Education Strategy and Workload Management

Warwick UCU is aware that the 2020-21 academic year will bring many challenges for the University. Union members and their representatives are no different to the rest of University staff: we understand the current situation and are committed to supporting one another in upholding the world-leading operations of the University in research and teaching.

We are concerned, however, about the University’s recent announcement outlining the shape of the coming academic year, which suggests that staff will be expected to deliver f2f (face-to-face) teaching wherever possible, and to be ready to switch to a fully online provision with minimum notice. This means that all classes will need to be prepared in advance as both f2f and online experiences, in anticipation of these eventualities.

Planning and preparing for this scenario inevitably creates a substantially increased workload for staff directly involved in teaching as well as those supporting the student experience, and the University’s communication has not adequately acknowledged this extra demand on our labour. Creating new online resources and preparing for new methods of teaching all require significant time for training, pedagogically robust redesign, and delivery; indeed, it would be entirely misaligned with Warwick’s commitment to high quality teaching, and in many cases entirely impossible, to simply transfer f2f pedagogies online. The projected cuts of the sessional teaching budget, the potential of working with reduced staff (as staff may be ill or may need to shield), and the take up of the VLS scheme will only add more pressure to our workloads. The extra workload required to meet University demands for online teaching will require significant extra hours of work, and it is highly likely that research output will suffer as a result during the next academic year.

Unfortunately, the University of Warwick has no University-wide framework for workload management. This means departmental workload models vary widely across the University, and some units of operation have no quantitative workload management in place at all. While development of such a model has been mooted by University management in response the last round of industrial action, progress has been rudimentary so far, with many issues still to work through. Warwick’s situation already falls well short of concrete efforts to ensure adequate duty of care undertaken by other institutions. The absence of a workload framework further complicates the ability of the University to deliver a dynamic combination of face to face and online teaching in the next academic year.

Based on the above analysis, Warwick UCU believes that the University is already aware that staff will need to be prepared to teach all modules running in Term 1 wholly online. Being transparent with staff now would allow them to train and plan appropriately, protecting their welfare and ensuring the quality of their teaching. To meet these goals, Warwick UCU calls on the University to urgently prioritise the creation of a proper workload framework, to be ready by the end of August 2020.

The workload framework should specify the following:

  1. Confirmation that the notional working week for teaching staff is 36 hours according to contract. UCU’s interpretation of contractual obligations is that although employees in Grades 6 to 9 have technically opted out of the work time directive, they still have the right to withdraw this agreement at any time, particularly where workloads become excessive. Any workload should specify 48 hours a week as an absolute maximum.
  2.  Time allocated for the additional work needed to develop and deliver online and blended versions of modules, as well as how departments will integrate any extra hours into existing modelling.
  3. How any additional hours, above the relevant thresholds, will be compensated and incentivised by deferring benefits over a reasonable timescale; based on amendments to the WTD (UK Government 2020), such a timescale might be two years. Opportunities for deferred benefits might include a future time-off policy to recognise additional working hours through the provision of additional annual leave entitlement, automatic renewals for temporary staff or extra research time.
  4. That probation, promotion, and performance management processes reflect the additional teaching and administrative burden placed on staff a result of the crisis, and that these processes are properly communicated and implemented at the departmental level.

No return to campus until it’s safe: Warwick UCU’s Five Red Lines

(for a PDF version click here)

Warwick UCU is participating in good faith with the Health and Safety Committee of the University of Warwick in the hope of securing the University’s commitment to ensuring that any return of staff and students to campus is safe, secure, and voluntary.

At present, while some members are reporting pressures to return faster than they feel comfortable with, we are hopeful that the University will respond to our efforts to ensure that the reopening of campus is in line with the latest Health and Safety guidance and the University’s statutory obligations for meaningful consultation with campus trades unions.

To this end, we have prepared the following ‘Red Lines’ that must not be crossed in order to ensure that the move to reopen campus occurs safely (1). These will be presented to the University’s Health and Safety Committee Meeting in June 2020.

Note: We recognise that the situation is fluid, and that there have been conflicting messages about the University’s plans, and so we reserve the right to update our Red Lines in accordance with new information or policy.

Warwick UCU’s Five Red Lines

1. Safe in society

  • New cases of COVID-19 need to be low and falling, with a sustained downward trend and confidence that all new cases can be identified and responded to promptly. This applies at regional level, with reduced cases and a falling reproduction number or R value (below 1), confirmed region by region before decisions regarding reopening of university campuses are considered.
  • In addition to routine testing, protocols are needed to ensure full coverage testing occurs promptly across university and other worksites following any case of Covid-19 being confirmed.


2. Safe on campus

  • The relevant authorities (UK; Scottish; Welsh; and Northern Irish) must have coherent plans which include parameters for appropriate physical distancing and safe levels of social mixing, applicable to HE campuses/workplaces as well as any travel required to and from them.
  • To help ensure physical distancing, all HE staff and students who can work and study from home should continue to do so.
  • In line with WHO guidance (2), masks must be mandatory for on campus interactions, with the University to supply these where necessary and to provide a means to enforce their use.


3. Safe university buildings

  • No teaching or other activity should take place indoors unless it is safe to do so in accordance with the state-of-the-art research regarding required levels of physical distancing and ventilation;
  • Proper physical distancing must be maintained for all campus-based activities;
  • Risk Assessments must be conducted with the recognised campus trades unions for all sites of work
  • Staff must be given workload recognition for the time taken to complete Risk Assessments to allow them to do this properly.


4. Safe for all colleagues

  • Equalities considerations given priority: the University must do more to protect the health and jobs of vulnerable workers or those who do not feel safe in coming to work;
  • To follow best practice in avoiding the risk of discrimination and stigmatisation, there must be no forced disclosure of pre-existing health conditions (3);
  • Equalities Impact Assessments must be completed to ensure that the differential risks relating to BAME staff, disabled staff, older staff, and staff in other categories who may be more vulnerable to Covid-19, are fully considered.

5. Safer communication

  • Full Transparency: Staff require clear and consistent communication now to allow for adequate and preparation for the next academic year;
  • Staff need to be involved in any return to work planning;
  • Workload: the University must better acknowledge the risks of increases to already burdensome workloads to avoid further negatively affecting the mental and physical health of staff members;
  • The University must communicate how any additional-workload burdens relating to the Covid-19 crisis will be addressed and compensated for.

Staff should be aware of Section 44 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 see here or here for more information and contact your local UCU representative if you have concerns about the safety of your workplace.


1 See also national UCU tests for safe returns to on-campus working https://www.ucu.org.uk/media/10935/UCU-HE-on-campus-return-tests/pdf/ucu_covid19_hetests.pdf

2 https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/when-and-how-to-use-masks

3 See https://sites.google.com/view/accesscampusalliance