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Liverpool law student petitions university to reimburse tuition fees over four-week strike action

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First year’s calls for £1,000 compensation backed by thousands

A first-year law student disgruntled by strikes arranged to take place, nationwide, in February and March is petitioning the University of Liverpool for compensation.

Academics are set to strike for 14 days across four weeks in February and March. Ying Tang, who is studying law at the Russell Group university, thinks it’s “fair” Liverpool deducts £1,079 from its students’ tuition fees “for the loss of 14 days of our education”.

Tang’s calls have certainly captured the attention of her fellow students. At the time of writing the petition has attracted close to 5,000 signatures, plus comments including: “paying for an education system without receiving any education”; “I am a 1st year law student and we are all going to miss out not getting lectures or materials to study”; and “rebate needed”.

The latest comments from across Legal Cheek

But Liverpool is far from the only academic institution set to be impacted by the upcoming industrial action. The University and College Union (UCU) lists 61 affected universities, including: Bristol, Cambridge, Durham, Exeter, Glasgow, Kent, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Oxford.

A number of law students have vented their frustration about the widespread walk-out to Legal Cheek. “At the end of the day students are paying for a service and if that service is consistently halted they deserve to claim back the cost of the days lost for their education,” one tells us, adding that a “lack of education can cost a student marks and understanding of their course.” Another student thinks:

“[T]he fact that we are paying for a service that we are not receiving is disgraceful. If you had a rail pass, for example, and the rail services strike, if they had failed to provide an alternative service you would expect a refund due to the extra expenses you would have incurred or lost earnings… Ultimately, we are paying thousands for a service we won’t receive, which is wrong.”

Given these heightened emotions, it’s perhaps unsurprising student-led petitions aren’t exclusive to Liverpool. At King’s College London, for example, an international relations student who thinks it’s “totally unacceptable” that four weeks of lectures are due to be disrupted emailed her principal to request a tuition fee refund. While over at the University of York, a first-year politics student racked up thousands of signatures on a petition demanding compensation for every student who loses contact time.

However, it’s not to say students don’t agree with academics’ decision to strike. The industrial action is born out of proposed changes to academics’ pensions, which the UCU says would leave a typical lecturer close to £10,000 a year worse off in retirement. Tang explains:

“Signing this petition does not mean you are against your lecturers. I created this petition not only because we are losing out on education that we are paying for, but also to alert the university that we, as students, have rights and that our lecturers should be treated better so that they can provide us with what we are entitled to and what we have paid for. I stand behind my lecturers and support them fully.”

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12 Comments

Anonymous

Aw, I wish I carried this much as a first year. cute

Anonymous

You had someone carry your stuff for you then?

Anonymous

You would have if you had to pay £9k tuition fees.

Welcome to the consumerisation of university education, courtesy of the Conservatives

Anonymous

Labour introduced tuition fees…

Anon

How patronising

Anonymous

Good luck getting anything out of the universities. They know what we know: it won’t make the slightest difference to your education if these bone idle refugees from life go on strike for weeks, months or years.

Anonymous

I bet those legal apprentices slogging their way through the 6 year qualification process are laughing their balls off those of us who chose to do LLBs at university.

I remember my previous uni chose to strike during an assessment period; they turned up to the regular lecture times to remind students why they were striking, and also to remind us that they would not be marking the papers we had all put blood sweat and tears into to make deadline.

Sad to see they’re up on the list again, and I have had confirmation from friends still connected to the uni that it’ll be during assessment time again. If it’s anything like when it happened to my year, many law students will be going into final exams with no valuable feedback on their progress in several modules.

Anonymous

If you continue to make further education a business rather than a pursuit of knowledge, then the students will become customers – and customers deserve to get what they pay for.

I’m sure we’ll get a few on here who say “oh a month off to drink beer and watch Countdown, why are they complaining?” – I can think of nine thousand reasons a year why!

Anonymous

She’s right.

If the universities go the whole hog with these fees, they ought to be prepared for this understandable attitude from students.

It wouldn’t have happened back in the £1k, or even £3k fees days.

Anonymous

If the pension funds invest in deforestation or corporations involved with weapons and regeneration after civil war, it should get their returns up such that the academics pensions will be ok.

Part of the pension problem is that there is no so much profit in biofuel and organic cosmetics, so the funds cannot reach their return targets.

V.M. Varga

Surmise

Anonymous

Any paying customer should expect a rebate if the services paid for are not provided.

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