Template Letter to the Warden from Students:
Dear Frances Corner/SMT,
I am writing to you in support of the current action being organised by casualised academic staff at Goldsmiths and request an extension of all temporary and fixed-term contracts of teachers (lecturers, ALs and TAs) and researchers until October 2020 and their inclusion into the government furlough scheme that is being used to support permanent staff members.
Many of us have extended our final year projects, exams and essays to August/September 2020 due to the unpredictable circumstances that we are all experiencing in the face of COVID-19. As a result of this, we have necessitated additional levels of support, such as tutorials, live feedback and in most cases a complete restructuring of our work and projects. Our tutors have gone beyond their usual remits to provide this support and it is because of this that we have not, to date, en masse, withdrawn our fees, deferred or interrupted our studies.
We are disgusted by the discriminatory treatment of casualised academic staff at Goldsmiths, a high proportion of whom are from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds and/or with caring responsibilities. These actions by the University coincide with the appointment of Dominic Grieve, a former Tory cabinet minister who stands against human rights, is in favour of tuition fees and has consistently supported wars and strict immigration policies. These actions, coupled with the recent threats to the jobs of fixed-term BAME tutors in the art department and across the institution, are racist and at odds with the university’s legacy of work in the areas of social justice and the creative arts. We request that SMT order an official equality impact assessment to take place before such measures be decided.
I am therefore urging you to negotiate with the organising group to stop this senseless attack on the livelihoods of almost 500 teaching staff at Goldsmiths and retain the jobs of BAME teaching staff in order to prevent further disruption to my studies. The temporary refusal by ALs and GTTs to submit grades and feedback for our coursework can be resolved swiftly if you engage with their demands. After weeks of strikes during the spring teaching term and the stress of completing our assignments under lockdown we are urging you to resolve this dispute for the sake of our seminar leaders and lecturers but also for our mental health and well-being.