We asked the University to revisit a No Detriment Policy and invite us to the development of which to ensure there is student feedback in those meetings.
The University has since committed that they will be widening the scope of the existing assessment support regulations and will be considering, with us, the no detriment and safety net, highlighting points listed in our letter. They have confirmed though that assessment arrangements will not mirror last year’s No Detriment Framework.
We asked the University for greater clarity, transparency and regularity of communication...
We are now meeting with the University Director of Communications weekly as a team. Lila is also meeting more frequently with them to maintain the momentum of messages going out
Senior leaders of the University have also agreed that they will be doing another set of Town Hall events with JMSU to address students questions and concerns directly. More on that soon!
We asked the University for greater transparency on the increased allocation of the Student Support Fund and to increase the fund where needed.
The University has since announced that they have pledged an extra £650,000 to the Student Support Fund and have also had £300,000 extra funding from the Office for Students - meaning that the University now almost double its existing £1 million in its Fund. You can see more on that here.
We asked the university to support us in lobbying the government for a reduction in feeds and compensation, asking Universities UK (the representative body of Universities) to ask for a reduction in the financial liability relating to student loan debt, and self-funded students.
Through UUK, the university confirmed that universities are asking the government to consider whether a package of support could be offered to all students, which acknowledges the unavoidable differences in the student experience due to the impact of the pandemic.
We asked the university to prioritise bringing back student-led activity both on campus, when and wherever the tier modelling allows.
In December the University approved a paper on Return to Activity by JMSU, where we submitted proposals. Despite willingness and eagerness to bring student groups back, the recent lockdown and changes in guidelines have meant this was not possible. The University has reassured us that they will be ready to react to bringing student activity back once the guidelines allow.
This is just a progress update so far - we are committed to updating you and we will keep you posted on anymore updates as soon as we are able to.
Thanks so much for your continued support, feedback and patience.
Lila, Tuba, Emily and Megan
On the 12th of January 2021, we wrote to the University highlighting a number of points on behalf of students that have contacted us in relation to their student experience. The University responded, and this morning at 8:30am 13th January we met with senior leaders where we had an opportunity to discuss the responses the University has put in place already in supporting students; including access to libraries, increased financial hardship support and access to campus where appropriate for students. However, we also understand there are further conversations to be had around minimising the impact on academic achievement, greater usage of communication channels and the role of the University in lobbying for accommodation and tuition fee compensation.
We know students value these measures and we are grateful for the quick response from the University. We look forward to working in partnership and continuing the dialogue.
Please read the letter below.
We write to you on behalf of all LJMU students; as their representatives, they are looking to us for answers. They need help, and they are asking for urgent action.
Balancing student and staff safety amid ever-changing circumstances, short notice and often unclear guidance, whilst trying to deliver business as usual learning is complex. We see the position the university has been placed in and see the hard work that university colleagues continue to undertake in response.
Whilst we recognise the role and responsibilities that wider sector bodies, and ultimately the government, have to play, we believe there are measures we must continue to develop and initiate locally to ensure that students are supported through the continued struggles of the pandemic.
In a year like no other, our students feel forgotten at best, blamed at worst. It is our job to ensure that not only are they heard, but that action is taken to ensure they receive the education, experience and outcomes that they deserve.
We have listed below some recommendations which we urgently ask you to consider. We wish to continue to work in partnership and we know that some of this is already in progress or being considered but given the unique situation we find ourselves in now, we believe that our students need to see greater transparency, clarity, and urgency. We believe these measures will help support students by bridging the impact of the pandemic through all areas of their experience.
Students are asking for a no detriment policy and safety net highlighting points such as:
We ask the University to invite JMSU into discussions around No Detriment / Student Safety Net policy development allowing student input. Students still face digital poverty. We ask the University to:
We recognise that LJMU do not own their accommodation buildings and contractual agreements are in place between the landlord and student, however we also know this is an area where students are most significantly impacted. The recent announcement by Unite1 is a welcome step, however students believe that this is not enough. We ask the University to:
The pandemic has impacted the mental health and wellbeing of students as a result of reduced social connectivity and periods of isolation. We ask that the University continues to prioritise student support and wellbeing and in particular:
Prioritise social activity as it is integral to the university experience and support return to activity from student groups and communities as soon as possible. In the JMSU and LJMU collaborative survey 41% of students expressed their concern about missing out on the student experience. We ask the University:
Greater clarity, transparency and regularity of communication as things develop and change, with announcements relating to changes made in advance, so students have time to prepare:
As the Students’ Union, we know you recognise the important role we play for our students, and especially during this pandemic. We also appreciate that some of the recommendations we listed above are already underway.
However, the fact that students are still asking for these things despite the work already invested, indicates to us that either the communication is not clear enough, or that students are not reassured enough, so we have included these to ensure we can help provide some clarity for our students. They deserve further reassurance at such a difficult time.
Of those not already underway, we hope that the university will understand the urgent need for our students, particularly in areas such as fee refunds and the need for reassurance that there will be no detriment to academic outcomes. While these are challenging issues, they are of vital importance.
We look forward to hearing from you and thank you in advance.
Lila, Emily, Megan and Tuba JMSU Executive Officer Team 2020/21