Changes to teaching, special consideration and more – 23 March 2020
Hannah Buchan, UMSU President
Jack Buksh, UMSU General Secretary
23 March 2020
So, you would have seen an email from the Vice-Chancellor today, saying that the University will be ceasing its teaching this week. That includes all lectures, tutorials, assignments, and essays. If you have subject coordinators who aren’t complying with this, please contact us. UMSU Advocacy can help you out with that: https://umsu.unimelb.edu.au/support/advocacy/contact-us/
Jack and I have been working from home recently, but we are still listening to you and still bringing your concerns to the University. In particular, we raised issues today about Special Consideration. The University said that they are working through some other alternative so that no student is disadvantaged with Special Consideration this year. Also you may have seen that the Federal Government announced a second stimulus package, which is a financial stimulus to Newstart recipients. However, this stimulus does not extend to students. So, we want the University to provide financial aid for students who aren’t able to access government benefits.
Additionally, we are also talking to the University about International student visa requirements. They have not given us information as of yet but will keep you updated as the situation progresses. We’re also talking to them about the accessibility of education in general. Some classes that can’t be taught online need materials in class in order to do the tutorial. We have been talking to the University about how they can supply these materials from home. They will be providing an update on that.
It’s been really great to see a lot of UMSU Student Rep departments move their communities online. This is going to be a very lonely time, it can be difficult self-isolating at home, but it is the right thing to do. We want to help support you through that, so please look at the UMSU Facebook, but also our Student Rep department Facebook pages. All of those communities are moving online, be it through Zoom or Discord, we’re supporting you online and we’re keeping that conversation going so everyone feels supported through this time.
If you have any feedback for us that you’d like us to bring to the University, please share that with us. We’re also talking to the University about scholarship payments, as some scholarships are paid after the Census date, and now that that has changed we don’t know where scholarship recipients stand. All of these questions are really valid questions and students are rightly anxious about these issues, so please keep sending us your feedback and we will keep bringing these to the University.
The more feedback we get, the better we can take the case to the University. Most importantly, take care of yourselves, and I’m sure we will have another update for you as soon as we can.