Hundreds of Queen's University Belfast students face graduating without final degree result

The situation has arisen because of ongoing industrial action by some university staff, which includes a boycott on marking and assessment

More than 750 students at Queen's University Belfast face graduating without receiving their final degree result this summer.

The situation has arisen because of ongoing industrial action by some university staff, which includes a boycott on marking and assessment.

A senior figure at Queen's conceded that some students had been left "disappointed, upset and angry" by the situation.

Those who did not receive their final degree result when summer graduations began at the university later this month would be offered the opportunity to attend a second graduation ceremony when the industrial action was resolved.

The university, however, said it did not know when the action would end.

The marking and assessment boycott is being carried out by University and College Union (UCU) members at 145 universities across the UK in an ongoing dispute over staff pay and conditions.

University staff staged a series of strikes earlier this year in two separate disputes - one on pensions and one on pay and working conditions.

It's understood that Queen's University has been in discussions with UCU to try and find a Northern Ireland-solution that would allow final year students' exams to be marked, but has been unsuccessful so far.

The graduation season occurs earlier in Northern Ireland than in England, meaning the potential disruption to exam results is happening earlier in the region.

More than 4,200 students were due to graduate from Queen's this summer.

Currently, some 759 students would not receive their final results. They would still be able to graduate but the final classification of the degree would be pending.

Twelve students would not receive a degree at all, although the university has said some of this number was down to reasons other than the industrial action.

It is understood that more than 80 QUB staff are involved in the marking and assessment boycott.

The disruption to final results is mainly in the arts and humanities faculty.

Professor Stuart Elborn, interim deputy vice chancellor and provost of QUB, said it was a national dispute which was having a local impact.

He said: "For Queen's, this is impacting some of the students who would be graduating this year.

"It's a minority of the students, but for those who are affected, this is very upsetting as they will not necessarily be getting the full marks from their degree process.

"Students are disappointed, upset, and some of them are understandably angry, but we are doing absolutely everything to ensure that we get as many of our students through graduation with the full results of their degree course, but for some we may have to delay full classification of the degree until the marking and assessment boycott has been called off."

He added: "At the centre of this is making sure that we are caring and delivering for our students, what they came to university for.

"We are working really hard to maintain the integrity of the degree that they are currently studying and ensuring through working really hard with our exam board and with our staff to get as many of our students through to graduation as we possibly can.

"We would hope we would see resolution to this dispute to enable full classification of the degrees over the next number of months but that will depend on negotiations, but we will continue to work locally with our students and with our staff to ensure as many as possible of our students have full classification of their degrees as soon as possible."

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