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Lecturers threaten to withhold students’ marks

Unitec lecturers threaten to withhold students’ marks.

Friday , 20 November 2009
Press Release: USU Students’ Association at Unitec
Unitec lecturers have threatened to withhold students’ marks as part of the on-going industrial action.

Unitec members of the Tertiary Education Union (TEU) have been striking intermittently since September 16, hitting students in the crucial exam period. The most recent action targeting students has been threats of withholding exam marks which will result in problems and hardship for students.

Student President of USU Students’ Association Greg Powell said “we have seen many cases of students who say that withholding their marks will be detrimental to them.”

“Some students have scholarships that require them to submit their yearly results by a certain date in order to be eligible to receive their funding – approximately $3000 for each of these students, of which we believe there are about a hundred at Unitec.

Other students, such as those taking trades based courses need to do a certain amount of workshop hours to even be able to sit their exams. As a result of the continued strike action they haven’t gained enough hours and won’t be able to complete the course.”

The TEU and the employers from six polytechnics in the north island have been negotiating over their contract for the past eight months. They are disputing their salaries and their leave allocations.

Mr Powell said “striking and withdrawing marks from students, particularly during the exam period, is incredibly serious – causing a great deal of stress on students.”

Union members have had the chance to strike during the recent mid-semester break to target management in a way which would not have had a direct affect on students.

Striking or picketing faculty academic committees, academic board, council meetings, and strategic working parties and striking their own research projects could have been more effective, Mr Powell said.

He said he was “disgusted that students are being used as the meat in the sandwich when we believe the TEU could have explored other ways to target management to make their point.

This has created stress for all involved and USU Students’ Association has tried to get the issues resolved with minimal effect on students. We have contacted the TEU numerous times to request meetings so that we can inform our students and the TEU have refused to meet with us.”

“The Tertiary Education Union’s decision not to communicate with us shows a lack of good faith, particularly when other actions that would not affect students do not appear to have been considered.”

It is not known how long the industrial action will continue for.

ENDS

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