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Government to blame for suffering faced by university staff and students

24 June 2021

HEPI's 2021 student academic experience survey showed that students have had a challenging year during Covid-19.

Responding to the report, UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'Both staff and students have suffered enormously this year. The fault lies squarely with government ministers and university vice-chancellors who pushed ahead with a reckless reopening of campuses for in-person teaching and "blended learning" at the start of the academic year, ignoring warnings from university staff and the government's own scientific advisors.

'More than four-fifths of university and college staff have struggled with an increased workload and poor mental health during Covid, and almost two-thirds have been unhappy with the level of support from their employers.

'A failure by government to underwrite the sector led to vice-chancellors mis-selling students "Covid-secure campuses" amid notions they could have a relatively normal university experience in a global pandemic. University staff have struggled to pick up the pieces. The government must never again let market forces push managers into prioritising university finances, and risking the health and safety of staff, students and the wider community. We urgently need to move to a publicly funded model for higher education so student and staff wellbeing is protected.'

Last updated: 25 June 2021