Students from ARCSOC joined a picket line with staff, as well as demanding tuition fee refundsARCSOC

Students from the University of Cambridge Architecture Society (ARCSOC) have demanded tuition fee refunds due to disruption caused by ongoing strike action, in a letter sent to the University’s pro-vice-chancellor for Education, Bhaskar Vira.

ARCSOC claim in the letter that “the University has broken its contract with students of architecture over lost teaching and lost educational opportunities” and demand a partial 30% refund of Lent term tuition fees.

The letter, which has been signed by 141 students - including three quarters of undergraduate architecture students, stresses that the society “stands in solidarity with our excellent teachers, and respect their right to a secure and fairly paid job”.

ARSOC criticise the University for not meeting its promises, saying “the quality of support and education we each worked extremely hard to access in applying to the University of Cambridge… is not being delivered”.

The letter also states that students in the architecture department are trying to fill the gaps in their education left by strikes, by “organising our own informal crits and tutorials”. The letter makes it clear that this “is no true replacement for the education we so dearly pay for”.

Earlier this term, MMLL students were encouraged to do group work in cafés to mitigate against the consequences of strike action.

Architecture students say that as a result of this disruption they are “stressed, uncertain, and burned out”.

ARCSOC say that architecture students have been more considerably affect by strike disruption because unlike other humanities courses students will miss “unique modes of delivery critical to architectural education: shared dialogues, disagreements and drawings”, as the letter states that architecture is a “collaborative learning model” that “cannot be replaced”.

The letter says that due to strike disruption there have been “gaps of up to ten days between tutorials, promised as twice-weekly” and claims that a third of design teaching will have been lost by the end of Lent term.

Signatories of the letter are also aggrieved that for the fifth time, architecture finalists will not be able “to present their design projects to a panel of external examiners and critics”, as the final review event for students has been withdrawn this term.

The letter also encourages “the student bodies of other courses at the University of Cambridge, and at architecture schools across the country, to take similar actions to demand an end to the disruption of their learning”.

Last month (16/02), students from the department formed a picket line outside the architecture department to express these demands and “show solidarity” with striking workers.


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The president of ARCSOC, Reuben Brown, told Varsity that architecture students have begun this campaign because students “should not be paying to receive a product that is not what is being advertised”.

Brown said that more students need to have their voices heard on the issue of tuition fee refunds because “what we’re paying for is not what we’re getting”.

Demands for tuition fee refunds in the wake of ongoing strike action have grown in strength during Lent term in Cambridge. Last week, Fergus Kirman was elected as the new president of the Cambridge Student Union. Kirman campaigned on the platform of demanding tuition fee refunds and gained 58.4% of the vote.

Nearly 90,000 students have also joined a joint litigation for tuition fee refunds. The litigation covers students affected by the pandemic from 2020 to 2022 and other students affected by strike action from 2018 onwards. As of last month, the University of Cambridge had not been told that they would face action under this litigation.

During a previous round of strikes last summer, the University ruled out offering any general financial reimbursement to students affected by strike disruption.