Students at the University of Edinburgh prepare for their degree without knowing what their final results will actually look like.
Seniors said they were “devastated” that they would receive “preliminary awards” because the staff implemented a grades boycott.
24-year-old language student Lily Darvey was one of those affected.
She said, “Honestly, this result is devastating.”
“To know that my cohort has worked so hard throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and has consistently gone on strike year after year that they are now not receiving a single answer to any of our questions is heartbreaking.”
The student said she was in limbo and wasn’t sure if she could find a job.
Miss Darvey added: “I am faced with a new level of uncertainty.”
“I don’t know if I actually graduated or how I’m ranked. That leaves me in limbo. Do I lie in my applications and just say I have a degree?
“I’m not even able to give employers a date when I will graduate.”
The move comes after a long dispute between members of the University and College Union (UCU) and university leadership.
Union members are taking part in a nationwide boycott of marking amid ongoing disputes over pensions, wages and working conditions in the industry.
Edinburgh University staff went on strike last week as a result of the loss of 50% of their wages to those involved in the boycott.
Laura Brady, who majored in French and Italian at Edinburgh University, said students would use the graduation ceremonies to protest.
She told the BBC: “Things like not wanting to shake hands with the Headmaster – that’s definitely something that’s very common with all pupils our year, especially as he’s the one making decisions.”
“It will be interesting to see what our students make of it.”
Others are also considering wearing T-shirts that say “Pay your staff” at the ceremony.
Luciano Sipiano, a fourth-year social anthropology and politics student from Italy, said: “I’ve also heard that people don’t want to wear the right clothes and wear a white T-shirt that says ‘unclassified’ or ‘pay’ want “your employees” – so they rebel through the dress code.”
The University of Edinburgh said that “academic standards were maintained”, with grading given by peers with “appropriate expertise”, allowing students to graduate on time.
They said, “Some students have received a preliminary award and will receive their final classification at a later date.” For others, the grading and assessment boycott has delayed the decision to complete their degree.
“We have contacted these students individually to inform them of the next steps. We recognize the impact this is having on their lives and future plans, and we share their frustration at being caught in the crossfire of this national strife.
“Graduations will continue as planned. All students who have been awarded their degree, whether final or provisional, or who are awaiting a final decision on their final result, may attend a ceremony.”
Meanwhile, the University of Bristol is offering PhD students £18 an hour to mark exams as the backlog grows.
University management has reached out to the older students even though they are not trained to do so, student news site The Tab reports.
A doctoral student described Bristol University’s approach as “educationally and ethically questionable”.
“The university is taking advantage of the graduate students’ financial struggle to deploy them as a reserve army against the grade boycott,” they said.
A University of Bristol spokesperson said: “We are fully confident in the quality of our assessment practices, our quality assurance processes and the integrity of our assessment results and we always use raters who have experience in the discipline they are grading.”
Contact our news team by emailing us at email@example.com.
For more stories like this, Check out our news page.