Throughout the past academic year, members of the UCU, at UK universities, were on strike.
During the first wave of strikes in October and November, there seemed to be a revolutionary atmosphere across my uni campus that I’d not seen before. It was the first time I’d experienced strikes and there was a lot of student activism.
Fast forwarding to the strikes in early 2020, I noticed a lot more apathy among students. I have to admit I felt it myself because there was less coverage and awareness of the strikes on campus that time. There were fewer members of staff striking, smaller picket lines and even counter-protests by frustrated students. They demanded compensation and accused lecturers of “playing politics” with their degrees.
When we become apathetic, we lose sight of the goal that needs realising. There is still injustice across universities in the gender-pay gaps, poor working conditions, pension cuts and casualisation of contracts – to name just a few issues. I can see the perspective of the counter-striking students, particularly those in final year, who were soon to graduate. But that’s not the point.
When we become apathetic and individualistic, we become selfish. The fight became about “my degree” and the impact on the personal, not about injustice.
(I fear the same thing may happen with the recent flurry of anti-racism activism and the Black Lives Matter campaigning)
Have you fallen into apathy in an area of your life before?