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Referenda Case

All Student Vote (Spring 2021)

Warwick SU for a safety net

Proposer: Sidney Pycroft                                                          Warwick No: 1804950

 

Seconder: Ollie Sanderson-Nichols                                           Warwick No: 1328607
 

 

This Union Notes:

 

  1. Warwick students have suffered significant, unprecedented, and ongoing disruption to the 2020/21 academic year, with tier restrictions, multiple lockdowns, closures of local and campus facilities, and ongoing and open-ended interruption to normal teaching & learning conditions. This is in addition to the restrictions, disruption, and damage suffered during the 2019/20 academic year, wherein similar restrictions occurred from mid-way through the academic year.
  2. The University of Warwick has announced a “COVID Mitigation Package of Education Measures 2020/21” for undergraduates and PGTs.[1]
  3. Although the university has stated that its mitigation package would be under constant review, the package of measures announced by the university on 12/01/21 for the 2020/21 academic year does not include a comprehensive safety net, in notable contrast to the 2019/20 academic year.[2]
  4. Warwick students have launched a petition saying that the Mitigation Package of Education Measures is “wholly inadequate” and fails to take into account the “significant detriment faced by students this academic year”.[3]
  5. Cardiff University have announced a safety net policy to ensure fair marking amid the disruption and difficulties arising from the lockdowns and pandemic.[4]
  6. The University of York, a Russell Group member, announced a “safety net by other means” which included all examinations to have a 24-hour window for fairness for all students wherever they are in the world or whatever circumstances they find themselves in.[5]
  7. The University of York’s safety net has a reweighting system so the more successful year of a student’s degree will be weighted higher in overall degree performance. For PGT students the more flexible award rules applied to last year’s cohort has been extended to the current PGT students.[6]
  8. The editorial boards of student newspapers at 24 Russell Group universities have expressed support for reversing the Russell Group’s 7/1/21 statement.[7] This statement argued that safety nets and non-detriment policies were not needed this year.[8]
  9. Student services have been overstretched by repeated lockdowns with demand increasing fourfold, with the worst period expected to be January to April this year.[9]
  10. Prior to this third lockdown over half of students have seen their mental health deteriorate with students feeling isolated, lonely, depressed, and unable to sleep.[10]
  11. Students do not feel confident for their futures with 65% of students not confident about graduate job prospects with 37% saying the pandemic has altered their career plans.[11]

 

 

 

This Union Believes:

 

 

  1. The multiple lockdowns, tiers, and general restrictions have taken a massive toll on students academically and personally, on their degrees, daily lives, and future prospects.
  2. That students require a broader safety net package to ensure that their degrees are not further impacted detrimentally by the current lockdown and future restrictions.
  3. That all students regardless of course or stage of study require more adequate provisions both academically and pastorally.
  4. That whether or not students return to blended or in-person teaching after mid-February all assessment and work in term 2 and 3 has been, or will be, detrimentally effected and students deserve greater support throughout the rest of this academic year.
  5. That ongoing open-ended online-only remote education is unsustainable for both students and staff, and a large majority of students previously voted against online-only teaching and learning in Autumn’s All Student Vote (ASV).
  6. That the university, SU, and wider student community needs to acknowledge the severe and cumulative effects that prolonged and open-ended restrictions are having on students mentally, physically, and academically.
  7. That students require extra support due to the impact on their education and daily lives for so long as disruptions continue on our way out of the Covid-19 pandemic and related restrictions.
  8. That students require certainty about their degrees and extra support for deciding on their future.
  9. That students require better services and facilities to complete their degrees, such as reopening the library as soon as possible.
  10. That students have been sidelined by the government and the university must help fill this gap to the best of its abilities.

 

 

This Union Resolves:

 

  1. Mandate all Students Union sabbatical officers to support calls for a broader, thicker, and more comprehensive safety net policy, or equivalent, in response to the existing, ongoing, and future disruption to students’ teaching and learning conditions.
  2. Mandate the President, Education Officer, Postgraduate Officer, and Welfare & Campaigns Officer to lobby and campaign for greater flexibility and support measures for all students, whether undergraduate or postgraduate, regarding assessment, marking, and grading for the academic year 2020/21 and possible future duration of restrictions.
  3. Mandate the President, Education Officer, and Postgraduate Officer to lobby and campaign to ensure the measures are fair to all students across all faculties, departments, and years so that no students are disadvantaged by changes made or not made to support provisions.
  4. Mandate the President, Education Officer, Postgraduate Officer, and Welfare & Campaigns Officer to lobby and campaign for an improved safety net policy, or equivalent, to meet the scale of the ongoing disruption and provide adequate academic support for students across all faculties, departments, and years.
  5. Mandate all Students Union sabbatical officers to lobby and campaign for increased and enhanced support for students facing particular and unique challenges arising from the disruption to their education this year. Support including, but not limited to, academic, pastoral, and technical, such as lack of IT equipment, financial hardship, mental health, wellbeing support, and loneliness.
  6. Mandate the President, Education Officer, Postgraduate Officer, and Welfare & Campaigns Officer to lobby for increased wellbeing support, more individual study spaces, better access to resources, and the reopening of the library, and Modern Records Centre (MRC), for browsing and individual study as soon as feasible and safe taking into consideration the impact of prolonged closure on all students.

Policy History

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