Today’s strike diary comes from Lopa Leach, UCU Departmental Rep (Life Sciences).
Today was glorious. The sun was out, drenching us with Vitamin D, the happiness inducing chemical. There was a really big turnout, including the UCU East Midlands Retired Members Branch. It was excellent to have their support and encouragement.
STEM colleagues came in large numbers today to join the philosophers, the historians, the geographers, the modern language professors, the political scientists, the lawyers, the librarians, APM colleagues and of course the many postgraduate students. University in a capsule. Such a vibrant mix.
The UoN UCU playlist was livening the atmosphere with songs of protest and solidarity. It was Shrove Tuesday, so some wonderful colleagues were cooking delicious pancakes. The students, streaming out of the trams, stopped and chatted.
A beautiful Labrador was there soaking up the admiration. The clarity of the light meant that denizens of Nottingham tooted their support as they drove by. The lorry drivers and delivery van people were as usual the loudest in their support. Every tram driver waved. It felt good, this solidarity. Our four fights resonates with Nottinghammers. A sense of optimism filled us all: this is a good fight and one that we will win. The hours flew by and picketers wanted to stay longer!
The afternoon teach-out on Gendered Inequality was a sell-out. Full house with UG and PG students. It was sad to hear that some of our students still experience sexual harassment and do not feel there are appropriate mechanisms to report this to the University. The centralised student services had impersonal queues, that made them give up. Solutions to this were discussed, including anonymised social Forums on Moodle, which allowed a tally that staff and students could keep.
Students themselves discussed active involvement in groups called Safer Nottingham, Night Owls etc. Academics discussed how their workloads did not even acknowledge time spent helping students that reached out, including restricting the time they did want to give. This really was an excellent afternoon that allowed discussion on empowerment to all stakeholders. Many thanks are due to participants and organisers alike.