Petition for a Bristol Uni ‘safety net’ surpasses 2000 signatures

‘Physically and mentally, students are unable to produce the same level of work’

A petition asking Bristol Uni to implement a “safety net” for exams and assessments this year has amassed more than 2000 signatures in the first 72 hours.

The petition argues that a combination of the new national lockdown and a first term where blended learning was “rarely delivered” and there was a “lack of proper teaching” means that students more than qualify for the same “no detriment” safety net introduced in the final term of last year.

At present, the published measures by the university to mitigate the impact of the pandemic are limited and outdated. Measures such as “the provision of on campus study spaces” is no longer possible and the “choice between taking exams in Bristol or somewhere else” is something students have limited choice over. The university have said that students will be given new updates as soon as possible, and to keep an eye on their emails for this.

Messages of support under the petition, citing mental health as a key factor for signing.

Under significant student pressure at the start of the first lockdown in March, Bristol Uni introduced a “no detriment” policy for the summer examinations. This meant that as long as students passed their assessments, they could not fall below their current average grade.

Betsy Bowman-Hood, founder of the petition, told The Bristol Tab that was the least the university should be offering: “Last year’s students had essentially one semester of disruption, we are being completely disregarded for what will be a year of disruption. The university seem to think there is flawless online education being implemented when that’s just not the case.”

Betsy went on to say both “physically and mentally, students are unable to produce the same level of work”. A recent NUS study supports her claim, finding that “over half of students mental health is worse than before the pandemic”. The strong support for the “safety net” petition as well as the many comments citing mental health and wellbeing as reasons for signing the petition, demonstrate the very real effect this is having on Bristol uni students.

In a poll by The Bristol Tab instagram taken by 784 people, 95 per cent agreed a safety net policy should be implemented for this academic year.

As the government continue to dodge the topic of university, it is in the hands of students to force Bristol Uni to change its measures. Currently, the safety net policy is being “discussed” by the university.

The upcoming exam period begins on Monday 18th January. If you want to see a change in Bristol’s assessment measures before then, you can follow this link to sign the petition.

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• The safety net policy is being “discussed” by Bristol Uni along with updated guidance 

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