Over the last few days, as we’ve returned to Uni and to work, things have changed considerably. As your Students’ Union, it is our job to represent your interests to the University to ensure that students are being placed at the heart of all decision making. We understand that it can be frustrating to witness what feels like inaction, but we wanted to reassure you that even when we aren't posting things online, that we are still working hard and getting some big wins.
We have successfully lobbied the University to give rent rebates for the student travel window in December and have got them to agree that anyone living in University-owned, managed and partnered accommodation will not have to pay rent for the times that they are away from their accommodation. We are also currently working to lobby private accommodation companies to give similar provisions. We are working on a letter that will be sent to every company providing accommodation for Newcastle University students to re-evaluate their position on rent refunds.
We have successfully lobbied the University to allow for PEC forms to be approved without any evidence. This means that if you submit a PEC form and can explain how your learning has been impacted, you will not have to submit supporting evidence.
Private Accommodation confirmation letters
We have lobbied the University to provide supporting statements for students whose private accommodations have asked for a statement from the university to show that they have not been on campus for the present in-person teaching. We have heard from students that some accommodations are asking for this evidence to release students from tenancy agreements and we hope that this successful lobbying will help students.
We want to thank everyone who took part in the tuition fee vote and as a result, we have successfully lobbied the University to take the conversation regarding tuition fees to a national level. The decisions involved in making any changes to tuition fees go beyond individual universities due to wider context around a lack of government support to universities, who rely on tuition fee funding to provide their educational provisions, so we see lobbying on a national platform as the most effective path forward. We are in conversations with the Vice-Chancellor on how he can progress this conversation at the Russell Group and with his role on the Universities UK board.
Covid Marshals and Operation Oak re-evaluation
We have lobbied the University to pressure the council into creating a group that looks at the role of Operation Oak and the Covid Marshals. Benthe will be sitting on this group to ensure that the student voice is heard and ensure that going forward, students are not being targeted in their communities.
We are constantly working on other big issues that students care about such as assessment deadlines and assessment bunching, mitigations for January deadlines and a Near Miss Policy (similar to a No Detriment Policy) for the academic year and increased mental health provision. Many of the difficulties students are facing right now require careful consideration of the options available that will be the fairest and most helpful for all students’ circumstances and we are involved in conversations with the University senior leadership team every day to work on supporting our students. Please be reassured that we are doing everything we can to create positive changes and action to benefit students and we will update you as soon as we have further news to share. We are working hard and we hear your concerns; you have our empathy and our support as we continue to voice your worries as your student representatives.
If you have any other worries and concerns that you think that we should be aware of then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
In solidarity always,
Dorothy Chirwa - President (email@example.com)
Nadia Ahmed - Welfare and Equality Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sian Dickie - Education Officer (email@example.com)
Hannah Finney - Activities Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Benthe Tanghe - Athletic Union Officer (email@example.com)
Charlotte Boulton - Postgraduate Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ella Williams - Editor of the Courier (email@example.com)