As the second week of the UCU strikes roll into effect, St Andrews University staff get increasingly creative with their protest. Long gone are the drums and vuvuzelas outside Castle House and the picket lines outside the Buchanan theatre. The students are now getting involved at an unprecedented level.
Last Saturday, over 800 St Andrews students marched down North Street in support of their striking teachers. However, in the midst of the November deadline rush and ensuing hangovers, they had forgotten that it was indeed a weekend and no one was there to hear or support them. “I was walking with two mates in the protest. After a good hour or so we realised that nobody was in the office buildings. I was pretty devastated to be honest.” said second-year student Martin. Known for its active and engaged support from student population, the strikers have garnered a lot of support on social media as well.
First-year philosophy student and recent labour party convert, Abby, has changed her Facebook profile picture six times in the last week alone to different variations of the slogan “I support the UCU strikes”. An anonymous lecturer at the University expressed to our reporter, “Mappy glares at us from her ivory tower, so knowing that we have at least the support of our students means a lot.”
Strikebreakers have also been met with criticism and violence in the past week. Second-year History student Nick from Glasgow wrote a strongly worded letter to the head of the UCU, demanding that “the scabs should get shoes thrown at them for crossing the picket line”.
The student campaign during the 2018 strikes proved highly impactful on the UCU negotiations, and St Andrews students remain hopeful for a repeat this semester.