Leeds SU calls for Russell Group to reconsider opposition to no detriment policies

Leeds SU wants ‘assessment which fairly reflects the experience of students this year’

Leeds SU has joined 21 other Students’ Union Executives demanding that the Russell Group reconsiders its verdict that a “no detriment policy” or a “safety net” is not necessary or appropriate this year.

Last week, the Russell Group penned a joint statement claiming that enough measures have already been taken to ensure that students get fair grades in this turbulent academic year.

Today,  SU Executives from around the country signed a letter urging universities to “take immediate action to address the challenges faced by our members” and to consider adopting no detriment policies.

The letter asks the Russell Group,  “to recognise that all students continue to be affected by the pandemic”, adding that the circumstances which resulted in no detriment policies being introduced last year are still “impacting students, which is why mitigating policies are still necessary”.

Union Affairs Officer Izzy Walter spoke to The Leeds Tab to explain why Leeds University Union signed the letter.

Izzy said: “We felt that whilst the statement from the Russell Group did include some important acknowledgement of the challenges faced by students this year, the overarching message of rejecting policies, such as those adopted by many Universities last year, set the wrong tone for students, especially given the timing.

“We can see from the Save Our Grades Leeds campaign, and the petition to cut tuition fees for this year, that students are not only frustrated about how their studies have been impacted this year, but ultimately extremely worried about the affect which this will have on their overall grades.

“In sending this response statement to VCs and the CEO of the Russell Group, we are calling for better acknowledgement of this and an approach to assessment which fairly reflects the experience of students this year.

“We want universities to come together to make sure that students’ overall grades are protected and communicate this quickly and effectively, to minimise the impact on their wellbeing.

“We appreciate that the same approach to last year is not necessarily the best one this time around, and that different schools may need to take different routes to mitigating the impact of the pandemic on grades.

“We believe that the processes in place to protect students from unfair effects on their overall degree classification need to be clearly communicated and made easy and accessible for all.”

While The University of Leeds are yet to introduce a “safety net”, Leeds Beckett became the first university in the country to introduce a no detriment policy last week.

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