As you may know, together with the Vice-Chancellor, I attended a meeting with student reps and others on Tuesday 14 March. The aim of the meeting, organised by Kent Union, was to hear student concerns relating to the industrial action being taken by some members of our academic staff. Both the Vice-Chancellor and I greatly appreciated having the opportunity to attend and hear from students about their concerns.
We realise that those of you who are in schools affected by this action are inevitably worried about the impact it might have on your assessments and academic progress. While we have a website for students which includes a broad range of FAQs, it was clear from yesterday’s meeting, and from other conversations and communications we had from students, many of the questions you are raising are specific to both your subject and school.
I want to reassure you that the Executive Group of the University and faculty Deans are working with schools affected by the industrial action to put systems in place to mitigate against its impact on you and will communicate what these are over the coming weeks. At the beginning of next week, your school will email you with detailed updates which respond to the concerns raised at the student reps meeting and through other channels. It is important that you are aware that the guidance will come from your Head of School (or in his or her name) and that it is guidance from that source that you should regard as authoritative.
I also want to reassure those students who are emailing me and other colleagues with a range of issues and queries that these are being collated centrally to ensure we have a sense of the nature and scale of the concerns. These will be reflected in the information you will begin to receive from your school next week. I should add that we are endeavouring to reply to those emails as quickly as possible, and where school-specific issues are raised we are forwarding to the school so that they can respond to you directly.
There is no doubt that staff have a great commitment to you as students. The University, Kent Union and the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) at Kent have jointly called on all those involved at a national level to work together to reach a solution, and the University will continue to seek an outcome that protects the interests of our staff and students.
David Nightingale | Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost