Marchant has been described as a "dedicated organiser" and a "rock" Cambridge University and College Union

Jenny Marchant, Cambridge UCU (CUCU) branch president, passed away on Sunday (07/06) following a year-long battle with ovarian cancer.

Marchant’s leadership style was described by CUCU, in a statement entitled ‘Remembering Jenny Marchant’, as being marked by “warmth, self-deprecation and a distinctive, infectious sense of humour.”

The statement continues: “For many of us, Jenny was our rock.”

Marchant first became active in CUCU during the USS pension strikes, joining the CUCU branch executive in June 2018 first as a reps co-ordinator, then Vice President and finally Branch President.

In their statement CUCU spoke of her “relentless passion and empathy for those most impacted by the insecurity, low pay, and undervaluing endemic in our sector.”

Marchant’s interest in trade unionism was “driven by a sense of deep injustice and inequality within her field of archaeology as well as at Cambridge University, borne out of her experiences as a precarious field archaeologist, and then as a Temporary Employment Service worker.”

Marchant, in collaboration with Sandra Cortijo, “helped to develop the branch’s first anti-casualisation claim” which has “driven real progress on casualisation at the university.”

Lorena Gazzotti, the anti-casualisation officer at CUCU and researcher at Lucy Cavendish, tweeted “Jenny was a fighter. Already ill, she kept on advocating for UCU members’ safety during the pandemic, to make sure no worker was put in harm’s way. We will deeply miss her. Rest in power, Jenny.”

Fitzwilliam Museum colleagues have expressed their deep condolences and sadness at the passing of Marchant, who worked as a permanent conservator and was the “focal point for unionism” at the museum.

Dr Abi. L GLen, research fellow at the Fitzwilliam Museum, tweeted “Jenny was as ferociously just as she was supremely kind. She was smart, hilarious and brave, and Cambridge won’t be the same without her. We will miss her terribly.”

Dr Anastasia Christophilopoulou, the Assistant Keeper and Cyprus Curator for the Department of Antiquities of the Fitzwilliam Museum tweeted: “We have lost a dear colleague, a friend, a great unionist.”

CUCU’s statement states that Marchant “dedicated all her time to help build our branch, while calmly but persistently challenging University management and pushing them to do better by their staff.”

The statement continues: “A great many of our branch’s achievements, such as last year’s successful strike ballot campaign, bear her imprint.”

CUSU and the Graduate Union released a statement on Facebook conveying their sadness to hear that Marchant had passed away.

The statement describes Marchant as “a dedicated organiser” acknowledging “it was an absolute pleasure to work with her during the strikes and in campaigning against casualisation.”

CUSU and the Graduate Union emphasise that many of their members “have benefited, and will continue to benefit from the work she’s done.”

Cambridge Defend Education, recognising Marchant’s “unmatched” positivity “early in the morning on cold picket lines”, tweeted “we’re so sad to hear about the loss of Jenny: a brilliant organiser and we’ll treasure the memories of working alongside her during the strikes.”

Academics across Cambridge University have acknowledged the “devastating news of the passing of lovely Jenny Marchant”, including Priyamvada Gopal, a Reader at the Faculty of English and Fellow at Churchill College.

Jason Scott-Warren, climate activist and English Fellow at Gonville and Caius, tweeted it’s “so sad to hear about Jenny Marchant’s death. A leading light in the small group of wonderful people who have been transforming @CambridgeUCU in recent years. Your energy and warmth will be missed.”

Marchant was described as a “force for good” by Mary Laven, a professor of Early Modern History and a Fellow at Jesus College.

While, Alice Levins, a research associate at the institute of criminology, tweeted “RIP Jenny. Principled, energetic, thoughtful, kind, and far far too young.”

CUCU’s statement emphasised that Marchant “touched the lives of many” and that she will be “greatly missed - as a colleague, a comrade, and a friend.”

The statement finished: “We mourn her loss and honour her legacy, and commit to keep fighting as she showed us how.”

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