Weekly Update – January 8th 2021
An update from the GUSRC Executive on what we are doing to represent and support students.
University of Glasgow students,
After such a difficult year, we had all hoped for a better start to 2021. This pandemic continues to impact our lives in so many ways and it’s very clear that students have had a particularly hard time and deserve better.
Whether it’s lobbying the University for better academic support and provisions; helping you to know your accommodation rights; or promoting activities and opportunities to help you engage with the University experience – our students and staff have continued to do our utmost to meet our goal of supporting and representing students at this University – but we can always do better, and we strive to do so.
Over the next few weeks, we will be sending out regular communications like this one which will detail the work that we have been doing on your behalf. Though times are tough, please remember that you are not alone and the SRC are here to help you.
Summary of issues:
Our President and Vice President Education attend weekly discussions with staff including the Clerk of Senate and the Vice Principal Learning & Teaching on what academic support policies can be introduced to help students given the immense stress and pressure they’re currently under with the current circumstances.
At these meetings we have raised the impact of the new government restrictions and lockdown on students’ mental health and academic performance. We have highlighted the increased demand from and increased need for students to have supporting measures and policies put in place.
The University acknowledged this and pledged to put something in place that will be appropriate and fair for all students. Discussions on this are ongoing and we will continue to update you on our progress.
In order to lobby the University effectively for greater academic support, we want to present a number of anonymous stories from students. We want to hear the real lived experiences of the effects of COVID-19, and the latest restrictions, that will help us to show the University why increased academic support is so necessary right now.
If you are happy for your experience to be shared with the University, and potentially publicly via social media, please consider filling out our survey. All responses are anonymous: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=KVxybjp2UE-B8i4lTwEzyJG-NpQoYmZKvFxZotsArYZURVVWREVZS1VGUktDVkpWT0tRTjhZMzNVVC4u
If you require direct assistance, we ask that you contact our Advice Centre who can give guidance on a range of issues from housing, to academic problems, to financial concerns and more: firstname.lastname@example.org
COVID-19 Task Group
Our President has continued to attend daily COVID-19 Task Group meetings for updates on what’s happening at the University, with a range of staff in attendance from Senior Management to University Services including the Principal and the Chief Operating Officer. The vital information gathered at these meetings help to inform our decision making and in turn we ensure that the student voice is considered in the University’s decisions.
Forgotten Students Campaign
We have been in contact with Student Union Presidents across the UK regarding a ‘Forgotten Students’ campaign. This is an open letter to the Education Ministers in each of the devolved nations to call for the government to start taking University students seriously and support academic protections, subsidise rent, and help end digital poverty with students. You can read the letter here.
We met with students who wanted to discuss their experience of the Good Cause system. They highlighted situations in which the requirement for evidence is a huge barrier to students benefiting from the system and suggested how this could be improved. Feedback will be relayed to the university in a review of the Good Cause system.
Starting next week and running until January 22nd, we are promoting a programme of events for Refreshers for both new and returning students to get involved in. There’s plenty of events to meet new people, clubs and societies and learn more about life at Glasgow. All of our Refreshers events can be found at https://uofgfreshers.native.fm/
We are getting ready for our Spring Elections set to take place in early March. These elections are your chance to run for council and ensure that the student voice at Glasgow continues to be heard loudly and clearly. Nominations for elections will open on 8th February and you can expect to hear more about this in the coming weeks.
Volunteering, Clubs and Societies Awards
We are beginning to plan our annual VCS Awards to recognise and reward the hard work of clubs, societies and volunteers at UofG. We want to appreciate how well they have done to adapt to the difficulties of the year. Nominations for the awards will open on January 18th – expect info on this in the coming weeks.
Safety in the Student Bodies
We held a meeting with the Executive Director of Student and Academic Services and a member of the Senate Office to discuss elements of the University’s Code of Conduct and how our complaints procedures interact with this alongside some of the other student body exec .
The purpose of the meeting was to ensure that across the student bodies there is a streamlined process for reporting, ensuring that whoever an incident is reported to, it will be dealt with effectively and at the right level. Support avenues for those reporting were also discussed, to make sure that each student body would know which services to guide someone towards if they raised an issue. This should help students by making sure that across the University there’s a clarity of report and support processes.
Disabled Students Focus Groups
This month we will be putting together a report which will highlight the findings of multiple student focus groups that were led by our VP Student Support and our Disability Equality Officer in December. The findings will be reported back to the University’s Disability Review Working Group, and contribute to the action list the group produces to improve disability provisions.
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 15th January