Sir, – As a student at the University of St Andrews, it was with frustration that I read that the UCU has lodged a ‘failure to agree’ notice with regard to the university’s commitment to return to in-person teaching where it is safe to do so (University defends approach during pandemic, Courier, October 2).
No doubt in the months since March these UCU members have ordered research texts from Amazon warehouses or bought them from bookshops staffed by people who barely receive minimum wage.
They’ll have visited or taken deliveries from supermarkets where their own students work early in the morning or late at night to fund their studies.
And, while they object vehemently to the idea of leading a face-to-face tutorial of fewer than 30 adults, many of them will be sending their own children to school to be taught in classes of more than 30 by a teacher who is paid far less than them but at least holds a qualification to educate.
The UCU’s position that online teaching is the only way forward is as reductive as it is insulting to those of us who are paying their wages. If I turned in an essay based on an argument as one-dimensional as theirs, I would fully expect to fail my course.
I am a member of a trade union. I work part-time while I study so forgive me for having little sympathy for academics’ workload.
If I criticised my employer viciously and publicly, whining about being ‘co-erced’ into doing the job which they pay me to do, I would fully expect to see my P45 in the post.
How removed from the real world the UCU members have shown themselves to be.
How empty their rhetoric of concern over risk assessments.
While Unison and Unite have worked with the university to carry out these assessments and input positively into staff and students’ phased return to campus, UCU have refused to engage, compromise or offer constructive solutions.
The overwhelming majority of students want and need to be taught in person.
It is time for the UCU to stop banging their drum and realise that he who pays the piper calls the tune.
Broughty Ferry, Dundee.
Importance of parking overplayed
Sir, – Councillor Holt (Spaces for people is anti-car and anti-business, Courier, October 6) is not up on the facts.
Well-established evidence from Sustrans and from Living Streets’ The Pedestrian Pound shows “investments in the public realm and walkability make economic sense”.
“The evidence we have – from the UK and internationally – demonstrates increased footfall and trading,” and “business owners and organisations still over-value the importance of parking”.
Perth Area Living Street.
Resignation could be Galloway’s chance
Sir,- Although Nicola Sturgeon quite rightly said Margaret Ferrier MP should resign there is currently still no sign of that happening.
The first minister has repeatedly hammered home the message that it’s very important you stay at home if you have symptoms that may be caused by coronavirus and that household isolation will help to control the spread to friends, the wider community and the most vulnerable.
Margaret Ferrier, for a reason only known to herself, ignored that advice and risked infecting so many people by her irresponsible actions.
Could there be dark forces at work here regarding her apparent reluctance to resign?
Could the reason be that if a by-election was called a certain George Galloway would be standing for his new Alliance for Unity Party?
In the current climate, how interesting would that be?
Craigievar Avenue, Carron.
Heritage of little value to NatureScot
Sir, – I read recently that Scottish Natural Heritage is now to be called NatureScot.
Why spend £63,000 on the name change? These public bodies need to wake up.
Throwing cash at something isn’t the answer. This is not good value for money.
Iain M Macleod.
Loch Earn Leisure Park,