“This Agreement Protects Jobs”: Four Unions at Rutgers University Reach Historic Deal to End Layoffs

After a year of layoffs, cuts and austerity, the faculty and staff of four unions at Rutgers University have voted in support of an unusual and pioneering agreement to protect jobs and guarantee raises after the school declared a fiscal emergency as a result of the pandemic. A key part of the deal is an agreement by the professors to do “work share” and take a slight cut in hours for a few months in order to save the jobs of other lower-paid workers. “The historic nature of this agreement is that it encompasses all four unions,” says Christine O’Connell, president of the union representing Rutgers administrators. “This…

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University staff protest Tory attempt to undermine academic freedom and stifle criticism of Israel

The Tory government is trying to force UK universities to adopt a “flawed” definition of antisemitism. The Canary wrote in December 2020: Conservative education secretary Gavin Williamson is reportedly trying to force universities to sign up to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism by the end of the year, or face funding cuts. But student opponents of the colonisation of Palestine are worried that it will silence criticism of Israel. An alternative definition of antisemitism has been put forward by Independent Jewish Voices. 48 out of 133 UK universities – including Oxford and Cambridge – have bowed under government pressure and adopted the IHRA…

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Ministers face calls to support university students with rent rebates for their empty rooms

Ministers and university leaders are facing calls to offer rent rebates to students amid the lockdown. The government has said the majority of university students in England can’t return to campus until at least mid-February. Instead, they’ll have to study from their current residence. Some universities have decided to move lessons online until even later in the year amid tighter restrictions announced this week. The National Union of Students (NUS) has said it’s “unacceptable” that students have to pay towards accommodation that they’ve been told not to travel to on public health grounds. They say ministers in England should step in to ensure all students get rent refunds.…

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‘Exhausted’ university student in tears over ‘lack of support’ during pandemic

An “exhausted” university student has gone viral after sharing an emotional post about the lack of support she says students have received during the pandemic.Kiera Murrell, who studies psychology at the University of Bournemouth, shared a photo of herself in tears and wrote: “In case anybody wondered how it looked or felt to be a university student in a pandemic.“I am so exhausted and drained. I have spent my afternoon crying into a Terry’s chocolate orange because I have received not a single bit of support since university moved online in March, just like everybody else on my course.” A university student in a pandemic. pic.twitter.com/ugshAeLOTa — Kiera…

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Hong Kong police arrest eight over university protest

Hong Kong authorities on Monday arrested eight people in connection with an unauthorised protest at a university campus last month. The arrests are part of a widening crackdown on dissent in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.The arrests were reportedly made in relation to a demonstration at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, in which more than 100 people protested against a decision to hold graduation ceremonies online. Such ceremonies are often used as a way for students to express political views.Some protesters had called for Hong Kong’s independence, and held up signs that read “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our times”. The signs were considered to have ‘secessionist notions’…

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A nationwide university rent strike is sweeping the country as more students join the movement

Cambridge and Nottingham university students have joined students in Bristol and Manchester in declaring that they’re on rent strike. And as other students from campuses across the UK threaten to take the same action, the movement could soon become massive. Since September, universities have been accepting new students and charging them money for accommodation, while putting the lives of students, lecturers and cleaners at risk of contracting and spreading coronavirus (Covid-19). More than 1,400 students at the University of Bristol are taking part in the rent strike. They argue that: Students were goaded into halls under the illusion of a normal university experience, with the promise of in…

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Manchester students occupy university building in protest over living conditions

Students have occupied a University of Manchester building in protest against paying high fees despite living in “appalling” conditions amid the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. The students are seeking a reduction to their rent and £9,000 tuition fees after face-to-face classes were halted and a series of issues with their accommodation.“This is an occupied building”They arrived at the OwensPark Tower, which the university has said is unoccupied, at 10am on 12 November, unveiling large banners and lighting flares from its windows.Banners were unfurled out of the tower’s windows (@rentstrikeUoM/Twitter) They said they are sticking to coronavirus (Covid-19) guidelines and have enough food and supplies to stay for at least…

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‘Historic victory’ as five years of campaigning forces Cambridge University to divest from climate-wrecking companies

Cambridge University has promised to stop all fossil fuel investments by 2030 after a five-year-long campaign. The university further pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2038. Both direct and indirect investments in fossil fuels will be divested from, while the £3.5bn Cambridge University Endowment Fund will be put towards investing in renewable energy. Student activist group Cambridge Zero Carbon said: This is a historic victory for the divestment movement. After decades of close collaboration with the fossil fuel industry, Cambridge University has been forced to concede to divestment demands put forward by student and staff campaigners. This sends a resounding signal to BP, Shell, and…

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