REVEALED: Conflict of Interest as Bath’s SU President Sits on TEF Panel

It has recently been discovered that SU President Lucy Woodcock is a member of a panel dedicated to assessing universities’ submissions to the Teaching Excellence Framework.

Since the most recent policy round in early December, the Students’ Union has a policy opposing the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). The TEF is a government initiative in higher education with the intention of measuring teaching quality.

However, as the policy notes, the TEFs measurement indicators are based off a flawed assessment of what constitutes ‘quality’ teaching, using indicators of graduate earning and student retention rates as measures of quality. As a result of the TEF tuition fees are set to rise again in the most ‘prestigious’ universities. Bath has already opted-in to TEF behind closed doors and without transparent communications, and is advertising tuition fees at £9,250 from September 2017. From here fees look set to rise to over £9,500 the year after, and over £12,000 by 2026 (c.40% increase in 10 years). Therefore, to see our President engaging with the TEF to line her own pockets, acting in opposition to the view of Bath students, is incredibly concerning.

The TEF policy mandated all SU officers of Bath to oppose the TEF and yet our own SU President Lucy Woodcock is a member of the TEF Panel and will be assessing submissions by universities. This role will compensate her £5-8k for 17 days of work. Seeing as her own Students’ Union has democratically voted to oppose the TEF, it is hard to see how she will fulfil her role as a member of the panel whilst still upholding the values of her Union and fulfil the mandate of highlighting the worst aspects of the TEF. This is a huge conflict of interest. So I ask the following questions:

Has Lucy gotten permission for this given that her contract states Bath SU can be your only form of employment as defined by earning money?

Will this time-consuming position distract her from her duties as SU President as it requires 17 days of work. Where will this time come from when the position of SU President is full-time?

When Bath students have passed policy to oppose TEF and boycott it, how can the SU president possibly engage with it for personal gains?

I expect a hasty reply available to all students from Lucy about her justification behind her actions.

Signed on behalf of:

  • Bath Students Against Fees and Cuts
  • Left Solidarity Society

To see the list of panelists, click here. For more information on the panel, click here.



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