What we’re advocating for – 19 March 2020


Hannah Buchan, UMSU President
Jack Buksh, UMSU General Secretary
19 March 2020

Video Transcript:

Hi, my name is Hannah and I’m the President of UMSU.

And I’m Jack, I’m UMSU General Secretary.

We have been listening and speaking to you over the past few days and wanted to update you on what we, as your student representatives are doing. As students ourselves we’re really concerned about the quality and accessibility of education this year.

And while we appreciate the University themselves are facing a lot of challenges in dealing with this, we also feel that they are not doing everything they can to assist students through this crisis. As your student representatives we’ve been making sure that we’re talking to the University consistently over the last couple of days, to take the concerns that the students have been telling us to the university to ensure that they can be dealt with.

Firstly, we need to know that the requirements for special consideration will be relaxed or waived. In the coming weeks it’s going to be really difficult to access a GP or another medical health professional in order to get that certificate that you need to get special consideration. We need to know that students aren’t going to be at a disadvantage this year.

We also need to make sure that there is automatic fee remission for students who pull out after the census date. Students are telling us and they’re telling the University that the current census date is causing them anxiety and distress about their degree. It’s just creating too much uncertainty.

At this moment students don’t know which courses will be online when they’ll be online and currently no student has a very clear picture of what their semester will look like.

The reality is we’re not going to find out the certainty about our degrees until well after census date of march 31. this needs to be pushed back so students can drop out of a subject if they need to.

We also just need more communication with the university. Students have been contacting UMSU with concerns about the quality of education for the fees that they are paying, and they’re often not receiving answers that they need. They’re being directed to contact Stop 1or other University academic professionals, but we know that these areas are not often equiped to deal with these concerns.

And finally we need clear process and clear points of contact and clear information for student who are in subjects that simply can’t adjust to the new social distancing requirements. Subjects that require students in close proximity to each other or requrie some hands on are very difficult to teach in these new circumstances. this crisis is unprecedented and students are unsure about what’s going to happen to themselves or the state of their degree.

We call on the university to work with UMSu and truly put students at the heart of everything they do.

And finally, we know UMSU itself had to cancel many of their events in line with the new health advice, but please know that UMSU will continue to be here for all students throughout the remainder of this crisis.

Whether it’s through our communities run by are various student rep departments, whether it’s through our welfare services including our Foodbank and our free legal and advocacy service, UMSU has and will continue to be here for you.

Look out for each other, and please know UMSU is here to help you. If you you have any concerns or queries that you need help with, please contact any of us.

Take care.