FXU announced, on Thursday evening, it would be giving the chance for students of all University of Exeter Cornwall Campuses to express their stance on the continuing UCU strikes. This vote will be used to inform an action plan presented at the FXU Leadership Team Meeting, next Tuesday. The UCU strikes are scheduled to come to a close next Friday however, this is yet to be confirmed. Although, latest information indicates this may be extended.
In this vote there are two questions asked of the student, one which allows students to vote on their stance on the UCU and strike action, and another on asking for permission for further contact to be made with the participant. It has been contested if this vote should instead be called an opinion poll, as the way the vote has been conducted is gathering opinions from students, similar to the mechanisms of a traditional poll.
In response to the efficacy of this vote showcasing campus-wide opinion on the strikes, compared to a referendum, Dean Pomeroy, FXU President Exeter, said: “The leadership team will need to make an informed decision… They will potentially recommend a referendum to be set up. But I think it’s important to remember that is a significantly slower process.”
Pomeroy also stresses that “a referendum is essentially a vote of one outcome but this is an extremely nuanced issue.” Therefore, if the Union were to take a single stance such as supporting the strike action and cause, they would leave out those students who hold differing stances.
For instance, it would potentially ignore those who support the cause but not the action or even those students who are apathetic to the strike and merely care about the financial and academic impact it is having on their life.
The vote comes after the student response to a UCU discussion and information event held on campus this Wednesday, which highlighted these issues. Pomeroy, in the press release for this vote reasoned that as they “received a strong indication from students that attended to change FXU’s stance” this vote is an essential measure.
The event itself had been postponed twice, with one reason being attributed to the FXU facing “significant challenges with the snow”. At this event, students voiced their criticisms towards the lack of a stance FXU had taken regarding the strikes.
To partake in the vote on strikes, use the following link: https://www.fxu.org.uk/surveys/2018VoteStrike/