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The Impact of UniMelb’s Response to Covid-19 on Student Wellbeing

The University of Melbourne loves to say that its students are ‘at the heart of everything’ it does — now we want to hear from you whether you think this statement is true.

Since the start of Semester 2 we have been told by the University that it won’t be making any more money available to students experiencing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.

We have seen that the University waited until mid-August to let students know that it had decided to extend the WAM amnesty but, at the same time, they had asked faculties and graduate schools to make decisions about which subjects should be included by 31 July.  This delay caused untold stress and anxiety for students.

Recently, the University has announced plans to cut 450 jobs and this will inevitably have an impact on the level and quality of support available for students.

And now, on top of this, they’re introducing changes to the Special Consideration policy at a time when we need it most.  You can read more about these changes here. These changes will force students to gamble with their assessment and provide a giant loophole for faculties and graduate schools to jump through so they can avoid providing students with alternative assessment.  The main reason that these changes are being proposed, according to the University’s own documents, is that some staff were disappointed when these changes were defeated as a result of an UMSU campaign in 2019.

Over the past five months UMSU has worked with you as a student body to make your voices heard by the University. We’ve delivered petitions, conducted research and submitted reports, and campaigned online, over Zoom meetings and phone calls, and in inboxes and comments on social media.  This campaigning has delivered results for students like the introduction of the Emergency Support Fund in Semester 1 and the changes to WAM calculations and a number of other improvements for students.

What we see from this is that the University will not take significant actions to support students unless it is backed into a corner by students.  If students are at the heart of everything the University does then students should feel like this is true.

We know it’s tiresome, but we need your help again. We need you to tell us how the University’s actions are affecting your wellbeing — whether that’s related to the pandemic or not.

In the coming weeks the University will be using R U OK? Day as box-ticking exercise.  The University will ask you this question – but maybe it’s the University who should be answering the question: what will the University be doing to put us at the heart of everything it does?

Use the form below to provide anonymous feedback on how the University actions and decisions have affected you.  This might be about how you will be impacted by changes to Special Consideration, the University’s approach to the Emergency Support Fund, your experience of remote learning or just how you feel you have been supported by the University during the pandemic.

 

Do you feel that you are at the heart of everything the University does?

We will be using this feedback to demonstrate to the University the real impacts of its actions on students.

University's Impact on Student Wellbeing during Covid-19
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UMSU may contact you to provide support or follow up on your experiences. Your email address will not be provided to the University.