Covid-19/Coronavirus: Student Update 3rd April

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We hope you’re all well and safe during this challenging time. We would like to thank everyone who participated in the Union’s Student Elections last week, your participation has helped us to build a solid team for the next academic session to represent your student views, thank you for casting votes and showing the candidates your support. 

Following recent updates from the University regarding the move towards online learning and the closure of campus in response to Covid-19, we have been in contact with our Class Rep and School Officer teams, urging all student leaders to gather feedback which can be brought to the University to further represent the student voice and look out for students across all schools. These discussions have taken place over the past 7-10 days, and although there is ongoing work in some areas, here are some updates relating to the most common concerns so far: 

Accommodation 

Accommodation lease concerns were raised to the University, and we are happy to report that all RGU accommodation tenants are entitled to terminate their contracts without incurring costs if they choose to do so. We will continue to monitor similar situations across the Scottish sector and ask for your feedback?as the situation progresses. 

Hardship Funds 

Hardship funds have now been made available by the University for International and EU students, alongside discretionary funds for British students in the form of loans and grants. This is in response to feedback gathered regarding loss of student jobs and additional support needs during this time. More details can be found here -?https://www.rgu.ac.uk/covid-19-current-student-advice 

Graduation and Gray's Degree Show 

You will have seen that sadly the summer graduation ceremonies have now been postponed. We are in contact with the University currently to ask for more clarification around a final date for final year classifications, which would make life easier when applying for jobs. 

The University has also promised to consider alternative methods of holding the legendary Gray's School of Art Degree Show in response to the student voice, and we say well done to students at Gray's for raising these issues with us, with your Student School Officer, and with the school directly. 

Alternative Assessment 

Details of alternative assessments are now on Moodle for students on a school-by-school basis. This update has received some feedback from schools, especially from first and second year students asking for cancellation of assessments, as is the case at some other universities.

The Union team is constantly in communication with the University and the National Union of Students, and we have monitored this issue very closely, with a focus on the academic quality and wellbeing of students. We are grateful to have been included in discussions regarding this process, and as Student Presidents and Vice Presidents we understand and appreciate the need for exams and assessments to proceed under these arrangements. We support the University’s position on this matter. However, we reiterate the need to consider the impact this may have on international students, students with disabilities, with additional assessment support needs, and those in challenging financial circumstances, and call for appropriate support to be provided for these groups. 

We have also received messages of concern from final year students, and have asked the University to provide guarantees that final year classification grades shall fairly reflect student performance prior to the Covid-19 situation, calling upon first semester assessment performances to ensure that no student receives a degree classification at a level lower than their first semester results would indicate. 

At this time it is important that the student voice is effectively relayed to the University, and your Union team of Presidents and Vice Presidents are working hard to follow up your comments and issues. We are also working to ensure that our Student School Officers continue to be included in the decision making process across each school, and would encourage you to contact your SSO with any feedback or concerns that you have. We are aware the impact of the Covid-19 situation on everyone and it is the aim of the Union to ensure that no student is disadvantaged during this time, that is our priority. 

You can visit?www.rguunion.co.uk/advice?to contact the Union’s Advice & Support Department if you or anyone you know is struggling. 

Student Voice / Chat Comment Change 

Our Student Voice and Chat Comment Change Forums will still take place, and the Union team is currently looking at ways to deliver them online while still capturing the student voice and effectively gathering your feedback. 

As the situation continues to evolve, we will continue to work with RGU management to ensure student's views are shared and considered. We look forward to welcoming you back to campus as soon as it reopens but, in the meantime, please stay safe and continue to follow the government’s latest guidance.
 

Ursula Ojiji  -  President (Communication & Democracy) 
Emmanuel Akerele  -  President (Education & Welfare) 
Kieran Matthews  -  President (Sport & Physical Activity) 
Ross Leven  -  Vice President (Education) 
Jordan Moore  -  Vice President (Sport) 
Megan Kerr  -  Vice President (Societies) 
Dami Yusuf  -  Vice President (International) 
John Gbabo  -  Vice President (Welfare) 

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