I’m a student. How can I help?

  • One of the most important things you can do is write to the Vice-Chancellor and tell him that you support your staff and our demands. His email address is vc@essex.ac.uk. Here’s a template email that you might want to use:

    Dear Prof. Forster,

    I am writing to express my concern about the failure of university managers, including at Essex, to resolve the ongoing industrial disputes with the University and College Union (UCU).

    I stand in support with university staff in their fight against cuts to their pensions and their calls for action to address stagnating pay, excessive workloads, widespread and increasing use of casualised contracts to meet permanent staffing needs, and unacceptable inequality in the sector.

    These problems harm not only staff, but students too. University staff need the time, resources and stability to be able to provide the world-class educational experience that students deserve.

    I am calling on you and the rest of the senior management team at Essex to publicly lend your voice to UCU’s demands so that the national disputes can be resolved as quickly as possible, and to set an leading example to the rest of the sector by taking strong and decisive action on the issues that can be addressed locally.

    Kind regards,


  • Talk to your friends and colleagues who may be less sure about the strike. Retweet and share our announcements on social media. Push back against the rhetoric of senior management which may seek to divide students and staff, or convince you that there is nothing Essex can do. Remember that the people who collect your extortionate tuition fees are:
     – the same people who underpay and overwork us,
     – the same people who choose to invest those fees in e.g. buildings, rather than much-needed student support or teaching/learning facilities,
     – the same people who brought you back onto campus in October 2020, during the height of the pandemic, and collected your rent based on the broken promise that teaching would be face-to-face,
     – the same people who choose to keep so many of us on insecure contracts, etc.
    We strongly oppose all of this. We think students and staff deserve better.

  • Put pressure on senior management where you can. Students have, in the past, emphasised that they support us while still pushing for refunds for missed teaching due to strike action. We don’t have an official position on this (we believe education is a right that should be available to all, and we strongly oppose the transactional marketplace logic of modern UK universities!), but we do understand it: you’re expected to pay extortionate fees for educational opportunities that previous generations enjoyed for free.

  • Join us on the pickets, come along to our teach-outs and social events, and chat to us – student support is incredibly important to us!

    The pickets are from 8:15 until 10:30 every day at the three main campus entrances. Watch this space for details of our teach-outs and social events, or come along and ask us!