Campaigning for the rights of students in the wake of the novel coronavirus travel restrictions
Hannah Buchan, UMSU President
Archit Agrawal, UMSU International President
6 February 2020
- Some courses have the option to complete course material online for the first few weeks.
- Students are able to catch up on work missed in select courses for the first few weeks.
Am I eligible?
To find out whether your course falls under these categories, visit https://students.unimelb.edu.au/student-support/coronavirus and click the button which says “Find information for your course”.
Additionally, this resource provides recommended actions that you can take if you are an affected student. This site is updated frequently, and is course-specific, so make to check this regularly to ensure that you are receiving the most up to date information.
I am an affected student. Who do I contact?
Are all courses available online?
Unfortunately, some courses are currently unavailable online, and do not give students the options to catch up. The University recommends that in this case, students should consider a course deferral or a leave of absence.UMSU and UMSU International believe that this is an unfair outcome for these students. A deferral or a leave of absence may delay a student’s graduation, which can result in a significant loss. Additionally, the travel restrictions not only impact education but also impact things such as tenancy. Some students are in contractual arrangements around accommodation, and a travel ban prevents them from fulfilling their contract.
Students come to this University expecting an exceptional education, to feel safe and to feel supported, and the University needs to be acting to ensure that students are not experiencing disadvantage for factors outside of their control.
Our call to the University
Accessing free Advocacy and Legal services
It is possible that that ban will be prolonged, and we are aware of the stress and uncertainty being experienced by students caught up in the travel ban. Both UMSU Advocacy and Legal Services will be here to support any students facing disadvantage as the situation evolves.If you have current and active issues which are affecting your ability to study, please contact the UMSU Advocacy service. UMSU Advocacy is a free service and can help you with any ongoing issues.
The virus has caused many people to experience racism, hostility and discriminatory behaviour. UMSU and UMSU International will always stand against all forms of racism and will fight against bigotry in our community. If you or someone you know has experienced an increase in hostility, online and in-person, since the coronavirus outbreak began, you may wish to discuss issues around discrimination. You can contact the UMSU Advocacy service for a full range of advice about your options.
The following University services can also provide confidential support:
- Student Equity and Disability support provide services for students who need ongoing support with their studies. We understand that adjustments to learning and assessment are sometimes required to allow all students to reach their full potential.
- Counselling and Psychological Services provide free, confidential, short-term professional counselling to currently enrolled students and staff.
- The Australian Human Rights Commission leads the promotion and protection of human rights in Australia and resolves complaints of discrimination or breaches of human rights under federal laws.
- The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission provide free information about discrimination and a dispute resolution service to deal with complaints.
UMSU believe that no students should bear the burden of the Australian government’s approach. The University needs to be taking steps to mitigate losses felt as a result of the travel restrictions.