The National Tertiary Education Union’s decision to impose a ban on disclosing results to university students across the state has meant losing the support of those that they need most: the students.
After prolonged and ultimately useless negotiations with the universities, the NTEU has imposed a ban on the transmission of assessment results to the uni’s, and this has affected the likes of RMIT, Swinburne, LaTrobe, Monash, and Deakin.
It is entirely counterproductive and unreasonable to put offside those students that pay the fees, to disadvantage those that would have previously provided full backing to lecturers and tutors who are campaigning for better working conditions.
Backlash across social media has been significant and immediate, with many arguing against being involved in a union’s fight with their university, and how the absence of results will adversely affect them.
The NTEU’s demands are entirely reasonable and by all means should be upheld; with the main issues regarding the casualisation of staff members and the increasing tutorial sizes, as well as a fight to not have their pay cut. It’s almost impossible to argue that these aren’t well deserved, and that an overwhelming majority of students would have supported this.
However, involving the students and their thoroughly deserved results by using them as weapons to blackmail the universities, the NTEU has alienated many against their own demands.
Withholding a semester’s results is more than the “small inconvenience” that they claim it to be. For many, the end of semester results can either be a well-deserved reward for four months of hard work, or a much-needed wake-up call for the next semester, but not receiving any results at all leaves students confused and dissatisfied with the past semester and those that are imposing the ban.
The industrial action was also not communicated to students in a clear and obvious manner, with many not finding out about it until the morning that results were meant to be released.
It is also not clear how the ban will affect students that may have failed a subject and need to change their course for the upcoming semester, as well as what exactly entails ‘special consideration’ in obtaining results.
University students should have at least been consulted or had a vote on these actions taking place, allowing them to be involved and supportive of the decisions, instead of having these bans blindly imposed on them, with no end in sight.
Students should never be used as bargaining chips in industrial action. These results are something that they have worked hard for and deserve to receive them when they were previously promised, not something to be controlled and manipulated by the union body.
Students at every university affected are paying a large and significant amount of money to attend these institutions, to undertake assessments, and receive feedback and marks, not to be dragged into industrial action that they can have no real effect on.
Not receiving end of semester results is shortchanging the students that are paying a lot of money to be there, creating unnecessary and sometimes unfixable stressful situations.
Although the ban is not being applied to graduating students or those with ‘special considerations’, it is still hardly an easy process to obtain the grades, with students having to fill out a request form, wait for approval, and then forward this to their lecturer to have the ban lifted, delaying the results significantly for those who desperately need them.
Currently, the results ban is indefinitely imposed, with the NTEU stating that it will be in place until the university ‘negotiates reasonably’, and with the results date having come and passed, this will very likely extend well into thesecond semester.
The NTEU needs to come to their senses and lift the results ban, allowing what were formerly their closest allies, the students, to give their full support for the rightful demands for better pay and working conditions.