A Student Union (SU) motion to campaign against the ban on undergraduate part-time work was proposed at Student Council earlier this week, to mixed student reception.

The plan seeks to give the SU a mandate to campaign against the current ban on undergraduates working part-time.

Caredig ap Tomos, the SU’s Access, Education & Participation Officer, proposed the motion at Monday’s Student Council, which claims that current University policy “restricts the freedom of students unnecessarily”.

Ap Tomos told Varsity that the policy is an “inconsistent, unfair and paternalistic approach to how student work is treated by colleges”.

The ban on part-time work is “hypocritical,” and allows the University and Colleges to “monopolise control over student labour,” the motion states.

The lax enforcement of the stance “encourages students to break the rules and not inform tutors of their work, preventing them from providing tutorial support,” the proposals say.

At the Council meeting, some members expressed support for the increased student freedom that the lifting of the ban would deliver. They also highlighted that the goal was framed alongside campaigns to track bursaries against inflation.

Others, however, felt that lifting the ban could do more harm than good. One student noted that the possibility of work might “create family expectation” for students to get jobs, which would in turn cause them to “struggle with workload,” according to SU minutes.

This was echoed by the Fitzwilliam JCR Class Act Officer, Milosz Kowalski, who told Varsity that lifting the ban would “establish a division between wealthier students who don’t need to work, and a group of students who would almost inevitably be disadvantaged academically as a result of being forced into work.”

During the discussion, ap Tomos asked the student audience if anyone would be interested in part-time work if it was available, but the minutes state that no one responded.

University policy currently prohibits part-time jobs for undergraduate students, a policy unique to Cambridge and Oxford. The University justifies this with reference to the heavy workload, and financial support available.

The SU motion also points out that many colleges employ students and other students break this rule with part-time roles such as tutoring.

One anonymous student spoke to Varsity about the impact the ban has had on them: “As a final year student, I’ve had to rely on two hardship funds due to the inability to work part-time”


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“I’m a ‘squeezed middle’ student whose parents cannot afford to support me financially, but working over [the] summer has never allowed me to save sufficient funds,” they said.

Discussing the proposed policy, Sam Hutton, Chair of the SU Ethical Affairs campaign told Varsity: “I think we have to consider that the reasoning behind the rule is so that the University is forced to provide adequately for all students.”

The motion will be debated again and voted on at the next Student Council meeting, on the 20th of November.

A University spokesperson said: “The University is aware of the Student Union motion on this issue and has been engaging with the sabbatical officers about these concerns, which will need to be discussed more widely across the collegiate University.”


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