Marking boycott statement

Dear Goldsmiths Students,

As you may have heard, on the 12th of May Goldsmiths Senior Management Team (SMT) announced a freeze on all new part-time and hourly paid Associate Lecturer (AL) and Graduate Trainee Tutor (GTT) contracts. As a result, the majority (at least 64%) of us - your seminar teachers who are on precarious and hourly paid contracts - will lose our jobs. We are devastated at this news and believe that it will not only negatively affect our livelihoods and research but also impact you as students, diminishing the quality of teaching and education at Goldsmiths. 

Besides announcing a hiring freeze, Goldsmiths senior management have also issued a blanket refusal to furlough ALs/GTTs through the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which would have provided some much needed financial security to us at this extremely uncertain time. SMT have not properly explained the reason for their decision and they have so far been unwilling to engage openly and honestly with us. Furthermore, many ALs and GTTs across Goldsmiths have not been paid for additional work carried out during lockdown - moving teaching online and providing pastoral care and support in what has been a difficult time for all. 

For these reasons, a group of ALs and GTTs across different departments at Goldsmiths have collectively decided to refuse to undertake further unpaid labour and marking (temporarily at least) until all unpaid labour has been compensated and our demands met. The full rationale for this action as well as our demands can be found here

We are very grateful for the great solidarity shown by students to casualised staff by writing the open letter in our support. We want to be very clear that we will be marking and writing feedback on your work as normal but we will not return these to Goldsmiths until they change their disastrous course of action. It is not our intention to withhold your feedback and grades indefinitely. We are well aware you have worked very hard on these assessments. We are also aware that Goldsmiths' insistence that students carry on with assigned coursework at this very difficult time has had a negative impact on your well-being and mental health. For many BAME students, students with disabilities, those without stable living arrangements and for those separated from their loved ones this has been especially challenging. In no way do we wish to exacerbate this by protracting this difficult period. We are confident that the mere prospect of a marking boycott will be enough to bring the college to the negotiating table and to change its callous course of action towards the most precarious teaching staff. We hope that neither students nor colleagues will have to suffer any major fallout from this collective action.

We are committed to keeping this process transparent and communicating with you all on a regular basis. For this reason we have set up an email address by department where you can reach us. We are also working closely with the Student Union and the student-led campaign 'We Demand More' to ensure that you receive regular updates about the progress of the action who you can find on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. 

Please note that we cannot provide information on which specific modules will be affected in order to protect the anonymity of ALs and GTTs participating in this action.

We are arranging a college-wide Zoom call that will be open to all students. It will be held on Thursday the 11th of June at 15:00 UK time and you can find the details here: 

Join the Zoom meeting here

Meeting ID: 739 0817 2681

Password: 7Jt9mB

We're aware that you may have many questions about this action, so please read our Q&A resource here, which will hopefully provide some answers. 

Many of us who are participating in this action are students ourselves, and many of us rely on this teaching work to sustain our studies. We are very aware of the frustrations of having our education used as the site of struggle that is not our own. But we also believe that this action and our role in it is vital for the quality of education and student experience that our university can offer now and in the future. 

We hope for your patience, solidarity and support at this time.