Virgo wrote that he is “extremely concerned at the potential disruption to your education”Lysanne Larose, Joe Cook

Both Vice-Chancellor Toope and Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor Virgo have today (17/11) expressed concerns about the impact of the upcoming UCU strikes at the end of this term (1-3 December), as well as the prospect of further industrial action after Christmas.

Toope and Virgo wrote to inform students about the nature of the strikes, which affect University-level activity only; they also announced an industrial action website, which will contain information and updates for students, and goes live this Friday (19/11).

Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor Virgo told students that, despite acknowledging the right of his employees to strike, he is “extremely concerned at the potential disruption to your education after 20 extremely difficult months, especially after many of you missed in-person teaching due to the pandemic.”

Vice-Chancellor Toope wrote: “I am worried about the prospect of further strikes after Christmas. I am most deeply concerned, however, by the impact this is likely to have on our students’ education.”


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He continued: “It seems particularly unfair that students should be affected after two extremely difficult years caused by the pandemic.”

Virgo laid out the ways in which the University is attempting to limit the effect of strikes on students, clarifying that University and college libraries and other support services such as the Student Services Centre will remain open. He also encouraged students to “let your faculty administrator know of any cancellations, if these have not been notified to you previously.”

Both Toope and Virgo emphasised that the University is working with the UCU at a national and local level to try and resolve the disputes, and the former closed his email by writing that “we should all be tolerant and understanding of each other, however strongly held our views.”