Weekly Update – January 15th 2021
An update from the GUSRC Executive on what we are doing to represent and support students.
University of Glasgow students,
We hope your first week back has gone as well as can be expected right now. We can imagine it’s been a busy week for everyone, but we hope you’ve managed to find some time to practice self-care, take a walk and enjoy the snow if you’re in Glasgow, or check out some of our Refreshers activities.
We first of all would like to mention the email sent out by the University yesterday (14/01/21) regarding Assessment Support Measures. We very much welcome the supportive tone of the email and the efforts that the Uni is clearly making to find an equitable solution for students in this situation, but we also recognise that students won’t be reassured until there is some detail available as to the nature of the provisions, so the SRC will continue to work with and push the University to get this finalised and communicated to students as soon as possible.
We have been assured that fairness to students is the number 1 priority of this new policy, and we will continue pushing to make sure this is the case in practice and that the policy is fair to all students. We want any academic support measures to be backdated to Semester 1 to cover the ongoing impact that the pandemic has had on students. Some of the areas that are we are raising are around increased extensions, uncapped resits and resubmissions, reduced entry requirements into Honours and automatic Good Cause.
Our overarching push is still for the University to recognise that living through a pandemic has an impact on every single person regardless of particular individual circumstances, so we need support measures that reflect that. We will continue to update you on this as we hear more from the University.
Summary of issues:
As raised above, conversations on introducing some form of No Detriment policy are ongoing.
Scottish Affairs Committee
Our President and 5 Council representatives attended the Scottish Affairs Committee to discuss Universities and Scotland. We used this opportunity to speak on behalf of the students at UofG and explain to MPs what sort of impact of COVID has had on students and emphasise to them why we need robust academic support policies, financial support for rent and tuition fees, and better mental health support across the country. Other focus groups discussed financial support separately and the impact of Brexit on students.
University of Glasgow Library
There have been ongoing conversations around the University Library remaining open and we are very much in support of it remaining open for as long as it safe to do so. The library is a vital space on campus for those who are unable to study at home. Due to the current lockdown, we ask that you only use the library if absolutely necessary and to please wear a mask if you are visiting the library so we can ensure it stays open and is as safe as possible for students and staff.
In a meeting on Wednesday we discussed the April/May exam diet and the type and format of exams we should be encouraging and supporting. This was an initial discussion this semester to clear the air regarding any points of confusion and will be an ongoing conversation continuing on an Education Policy and Strategy Committee meeting coming Monday which will specifically discuss the University’s position on timed exams, on which both our President and Vice President Education sit.
Planning is underway for our Spring Elections 2021 and the important dates have been set, including nominations opening on February 8th (closing February 19th) and voting taking place on March 3rd and 4th. Please look out for more information on these elections and how you can get involved in the coming weeks.
Yesterday we held an Academic Forum where our VP Education discussed with School Reps and College Convenors the student response to the University email regarding the new assessment policy. We attempted to provide some clarification on the message and collected a number of points to raise to the University in shaping up the details of the policy. We also discussed timed exams in advance of Monday’s Education Policy and Strategy Committee and the position of the academic reps on the blanket approach of the 100% extra time applied in the December 2020 exam diet and the possibility of that being applied to exams this semester.
International Student Support
In terms of international student support, we have been in contact and will be meeting next week with the UofG UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs) student ambassadors to discuss how we can best support our international students in the current situation.
This week was the first of two weeks of Refreshers events, and we have loved to see both new and existing students come along and welcome everyone into the UofG community. In particular our ‘Find A Mate Whilst You Isolate’ sessions went really well and you can join in for the next session on Monday. Next week events continue and we are very excited to have our Refreshers Live Chat on Wednesday, and then the launch of The Digital Welcome – our virtual Refreshes Fair – on Thursday. Find all of the Refreshers events at https://uofgfreshers.native.fm/
LGBTQ+ History Month
Planning is underway for our LGBTQ+ History Month program, including having put out a call to any of our University of Glasgow clubs and societies who would like to get involved. LGBTQ+ History Month will run throughout February. If anyone has an interest in contributing to the activities, do get in touch with our LGBTQ+ Equality Officer via email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Some of our officers attended a really useful and insightful Sexual Harassment Investigator training session ran by Rape Crisis Scotland. This will help us in our role on Student Conduct Committees with advice from Rape Crisis Scotland on how to best navigate these sorts of cases. Officers also attended a session of Advance HE Scotland Race Equality Training.
As always, we continue to listen to our council representatives about issues that students are struggling with, and ensure these struggles are emphasised at the University committees we attend. Similarly, our Advice Centre team are all working to provide you with confidential and impartial guidance and our Enquiries team are online to receive your messages and deal with your general queries.
Although we are working off campus, our staff and officers are still very much here to support you so please do get in touch.
Advice Centre: email@example.com
General Enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Council Member Contacts: https://www.glasgowstudent.net/about/representation/council/
Take care and stay safe,
Liam, Amy, Ella and Grigoris
The next update will be on Friday 22nd January