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BREAKING: Marking Boycott Announced To Go Ahead

Courtesy of Roar photographer Elizabeth Grace

King’s College London has officially announced that the Universities and College Union (UCU) will commence a marking and assessments boycott from 20th April.

The UCU announced earlier this month that a marking and assessments boycott had been called as an action short of a strike. Consultation sessions on the potential boycott concluded yesterday, 17th April, and the university has announced today (18th April) that the boycott will be going ahead. The KCL branch of UCU announced intentions to boycott on 14th April on Twitter:

This is not the first time a marking boycott has been held at King’s; Roar reported on the last one during the UCU disputes in 2014, and nine years later we will once again answer students’ questions about this dispute.

What is a marking boycott?

A marking and assessments boycott is a decision to cease marking all summative coursework and assessments which go towards students’ final scores.

Why is the marking boycott happening?

The UCU has been involved in two disputes with university employers in the past year- one over pay and working conditions and one over the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pensions. This past academic year has seen huge strike disruption by staff at KCL in support of these disputes, and the marking boycott is one such method of disruption.

How long will the marking boycott last?

UCU has stated that the boycott will continue until either a settlement is reached on the disputes, UCU themselves call off the boycott, or until the industrial action ballot ends (the ballot was renewed at the beginning of April for another six months).

What work will be impacted?

All work which contributes to students continuing their course- this includes final examinations and coursework, any continuous assessments, presentations, projects, lab reports, etc. This is not restricted to final studies but impacts all stages of all degree levels.

However non-graded work which does not contribute to your degree, such as letters of recommendation or informal feedback, are not included in the boycott.

Will my work still be marked?

The short answer is yes. Once the boycott is called off, grading will resume as normal. However it is uncertain when exactly this will be.

Will my graduation be impacted?

This is difficult to say. Graduation may be delayed if the boycott continues without reprise. This will not prevent students who are on the path to graduate from receiving their diploma, but would just push back the timing.

What if I have visa requirements?

The university is aware of the boycott and should provide support for your visa status. Contact the Immigration and International Student Support line if you think your visa may be impacted by a graduation delay.

More information can be found here in the UCU Marking and Assessment Boycott FAQs.

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