Regular Update – February 22nd 2021
An update from the GUSRC Executive on what we are doing to represent and support students.
Hello University of Glasgow students,
This is your regular update from the SRC as told by our 4 sabbatical officers, Liam (President), Amy (VP of Student Activities), Ella (VP of Student Support) and Grigoris (VP of Education).
In these updates we report to you on the work that your student representatives and the SRC staff team have been doing to support you, represent you, and engage with you. We also let you know about upcoming projects and activities.
Previously these updates were released on a weekly basis, but we will now be releasing them every 2 weeks on Monday afternoons. By doing this we hope to provide more detailed updates on our various areas of work as well as cutting down on the number of emails you receive.
As always, there is quite a bit to cover in this update with regards to student support, engagement and representation. Our top priority continues to be working with the University to respond to the challenges of COVID-19 which includes continuing to push for greater academic and pastoral support for students.
As well as working to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on students as best we can, we continue to offer our regular activities and opportunities including: our Spring Council Elections, LGBTQ+ History Month, Student Teaching Awards, International Women’s Week, Class Rep Training, Let’s Talk About Sexual Violence / Mind Your Mate Workshops and more.
At the base of the update are a list of contacts you can use to get in touch with us. Thank you for your time and we hope you have a good couple of weeks as the sun starts to come out more in Glasgow. Remember that the SRC are here to support and represent you.
Take care and stay safe,
Liam, Amy, Ella and Grigoris
GUSRC Executive 20/21
Prof Jill Morrison, Clerk of Senate, joined the Academic Forum to discuss students’ concerns on double time for timed exams. The discussion showed that there are students who do not feel reassured by the current University position, particularly in terms of its fairness towards disabled students due to many of these students no longer being allowed differential time to complete their assessment. We continue to discuss this with the University and hope to find a way for any concerned students to feel supported and reassured by the policies put in place during this very difficult time.
Academic Forum also discussed the students’ response to the COVID-19 Assessment Support Measures email of Monday 8th February (see below).
Please remember that your student representatives need to hear from you in order to convey your concerns to the University. You can find out how to contact your Class, School and College Representatives on our website: https://glasgowstudent.net/about/representation.
We have welcomed the assessment support measures released by the university Monday Feb 8th, but we recognise that students feel these could be extended and we continue to work with the University on additional measures.
These measures were discussed on our Academic Forum made up from all Academic representatives on Council. Concerns were mainly around Good Cause and extensions and differential approaches to accepting applications between departments. It was also highlighted that clear and transparent communication from the School to its students is key for the students to feel reassured the measures will be applied to support them adequately.
We have discussed these concerns with University Senate and key academic staff members. We highlighted that changes on key university websites are required so that Good Cause guidance pre-COVID is not confused with guidance under the current Assessment Measures, specifically regarding requirements for submission. We were assured that there is already a call to modify the information on key spaces of submission and that appropriate changes will be considered to optimise key information pages.
We have also discussed the great need for additional measures in order to address the extraordinary day-to-day academic pressure student parents and carers are currently facing. We have asked the University to consider measures that would alleviate the anxiety of students dealing with additional responsibilities on top of their studies. The University has shared our concern that these student groups need to be supported and we will continue to discuss the best way to do so as soon as possible.
We have successfully lobbied the University to continue rent rebates for the remainder of the semester for those who are unable to return to halls. This is an extension of the first round of rebates which covered from Jan 4th until 15th Feb, so this next round of applications for rebates will be from the 15th Feb onwards. Students in halls will receive a communication from the University to confirm the end date of the application in the next couple of weeks.
Last week we attended a University meeting with a selection of local Purpose-built Student Accommodation (PBSA) managers. At this meeting we pushed for PBSAs to follow suit and offer full rent rebates for the time students can’t be in halls. The main excuse for not doing this right now is that the University receives financial support from the government in order to make rebates but PBSAs do not.
If you are a student in private accommodation and you’re struggling to pay your rent, please get in touch with The SRC Advice Centre who can advise you on the financial aid options available to you. Website: https://glasgowstudent.net/advice/ accommodation Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Support for PGRs
Last week we attended the University’s Research Policy & Strategy Committee and had a catch-up with Chris Pearce, Vice Principal of Research. We asked for clarity on fee waived extensions for those at the end of their PhDs plus updates on the stipend extensions that are available. Students that applied for an extension during this round should be notified this week of the outcome. We also lobbied for more clarity for supervisors on what they are expected to do or provide during this period.
We would also like to remind PGRs that we successfully lobbied for a study space in the St. Andrew’s Building for those of you who are unable to work at home. You should have received information on this via your Graduate School, and booking of the space takes place via the UofG Life App.
Understanding Racism Report
Last week the University published their ‘Understanding Racism’ report. The report was prompted by a study from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) into racial harassment faced by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students and staff in UK universities. As part of the Glasgow report, around 500 students took part in a survey and very in-depth interviews were conducted with 20 ethnic minority staff to ask them about their experience of racism while studying or working at the University of Glasgow. The report was published alongside a comprehensive action plan to help tackle racism and racial harassment on campus.
While the report highlights that we are sadly a long way from being the wholly inclusive institution that we wish to be, we are really encouraged by the publication of this report and are determined to take forward the actions that relate to how we as an organisation can help tackle racial harassment and make our student body an inclusive space for all, and one which celebrates diversity. We understand that we will have a key role in leading a racial equality/Anti-racism campaign on campus, which challenges inequalities, raises awareness and understanding of how racism impacts members of our community and how we can support those around us. We will also work to raise awareness and confidence towards the reporting process and emphasise to students that their academic grades will not be affected by reporting harassment.
If you are experiencing racial harassment at University, there are ways you can speak out and report what’s going on. The SRC Advice Centre is a third-party reporting centre for hate crimes. If you have been the victim of, or have witnessed, a hate incident or hate crime, please contact the Advice Centre for a confidential discussion about what you can do next. You will not be pressured into reporting it if you do not feel comfortable doing so at this point. Find out more at: https://www.glasgowstudent.net/advice/academic/bullying/
LGBTQ+ History Month
LGBTQ+ History Month has continued over the past few weeks with a range of events available for students to attend virtually. Last week we hosted an event with External Inclusion and Wellbeing Consultant David E. Hull-Watters. You can sign up for the final week of events at https://glasgowstudent.native.fm
Home Students Working Group
We assisted in the development and running of the first Home Students Working Group. This group has been assembled to help find solutions to combat home student isolation and ensure that home students are supported in every way possible just now and when we return to campus.
Review of Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA)
We have been liaising with the University Disability Service about an ongoing review of DSA by the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) and gave student insight into this based on disabled student focus group outcomes.
Gender Equality Work
We attended the University Gender Equality Steering Group and gave an update on our current Gender-based Violence (GBV) work, including our involvement with the Review of the student Code of Conduct, and our work to introduce a GBV module within our Moodle page. We also met with members of the Rosey Project, the Support and Prevention Programme at Glasgow Rape Crisis, who gave us an online demonstration of their service and how it can help support and educate young people.
Sanitary Product Home Delivery System
Met with staff from Student Services and IT to discuss the progress of a sanitary product home delivery system. This will hopefully be launched by the end of March, and in the meantime sanitary products are still available in open buildings for those around campus, should you need them.
Impact of COVID-19 on International Students
Our International Students Officer Patrick has been working with other International Student Officers at student associations in the Russell Group and has written a joint letter with them to highlight issues international students in particular are facing.
Class Rep Community
We continue to consider the best way to enhance our class rep community. Discussions with School Reps who are successfully using online methods to keep up with their Class Reps are informing our future practice and we hope to use feedback from their experiences to implement a university-wide community for class reps in future.
Raising and Giving (RAG) Week
We held our annual RAG Week from 8th-12th Feb. A group of students led by our Charities Officer organised a programme of fundraising events and activities raising money for 4 great charities. The total amount raised from the week will be shared in due course. We are planning more fundraising activities for students to get involved in! Keep an eye on the UofG Raising and Giving social media channels (Facebook, Instagram) to sign up to a fundraiser coming up in March!
Spring Council Elections
Nominations have now closed for our Spring Council Elections and a list of provisional candidates may be found on our website https://glasgowstudent.net/elections. The next thing to look out for is Hustings. There are two hustings live events, one for non-sabbatical candidates on March 1st at 6pm and then another event for sabbatical candidates on March 2nd also at 6pm. Both events will be live-streamed via our Facebook page and you can send in your questions for candidates now using the form found at this link: http://bit.ly/HustingsSpring21
Student Teaching Awards
Nominations for the 11th Annual Student Teaching Awards close this Friday 26th February. As we progress through the second half of this semester, we all have a chance to recognise the efforts of those who work tirelessly towards a supportive and engaging experience for students this year. Many have put in their heart and soul to creating something that students will find interesting, engaging, and helpful. The Student Teaching Awards aim to recognise just that – they celebrate staff and student exceptional contributions. Access the nomination form at https://glasgowstudent.net/whats-on/stas/
Class Rep Training
We will be running our final Class Rep training sessions of the semester between 9th and 11th March for any class reps who have not yet been able to attend a Zoom training session this year. Booking for the sessions is open now, and reps should book their place via MyClassReps. These will be the last sessions for the academic year. More details about the class rep role and training requirements here: https://www.glasgowstudent.net/about/representation/class-reps/
Let’s Talk About Sexual Violence / Mind Your Mate Workshops
Our regular programme of workshops continues, including our:
- Let’s Talk About Sexual Violence sessions which focus on bystander intervention training, the definition of consent and where to find support
- Mind Your Matesessions which are about suicide prevention and mental health awareness.
Both of these workshops are peer-led (run by students) and facilitated by our GU Volunteering Service. They are free for all students to sign up to, and you can do so via our Glasgow Student Events site. If you would like to book a sessions for your club or society, or if you have any questions about these workshops, please contact email@example.com
International Women’s Week
March 8th– 14th is International Women’s Week. Our VP Student Support and Gender Equality Officer will have a full programme of events and activities that students can engage in. Please watch out for info on our social media channels.
Volunteering, Clubs and Societies (VCS) Awards
Nominations are now closed and we are delighted to have reached our target of over 500 nominations. A shortlist of nominees will be released soon and then awards will take place virtually on the 12th of March! Save the date.
For general day-to-day enquiries, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org or message us over social media.
For free, confidential and impartial advice on a range of issues including finances, studying, accommodation, wellbeing and more please get in touch with the SRC Advice Centre: email@example.com
To find the email addresses of your council representatives, please visit our website: https://www.glasgowstudent.net/about/representation/council/
The next update will be on Monday 8th March 2021.
Sent by SRC Communications on behalf of the GUSRC Executive.
The University of Glasgow Students’ Representative Council is a registered charity in Scotland. Registration number SC006970