Leeds Uni student starts petition demanding in-person learning next academic year

“your 9k a year is not enough money for them to heat up the lecture rooms clearly”

A change.org petition has been set up to “demand a complete return to in-person teaching for University of Leeds students,”demanding that the “blended learning” approach to the 2021/2022 is scrapped.

With the university confirming yesterday that they intend to have a “blended” teaching approach in the 2021/2022 academic year, students are becoming increasingly frustrated. This news comes despite the government’s latest announcement revealing that universities can provide face-to-face learning again from May 17th.

Information provided on the university coronavirus website

Will Huddie, a University of Leeds student, set up the petition as the University of Leeds has confirmed lectures and exams will be online next year. 

Will has also set up an open letter template, which students can fill in to have their name added to a letter to be sent off to the university.

The Leeds Tab spoke to Will, who “felt extremely angry and frustrated at their [the university’s] decisions.”

“I simply felt the only way to get the university to understand my position was by making the point to them as clearly as possible and I’ve seen a lot of students complaining about the university’s approach so I thought there needed to be a centralised petition so students had the option to make their feelings known.

The Facebook post | via LSG

“In terms of the open letter I thought it was a good option, particularly since the format was a google forms which enabled me to collect people’s opinions on the university’s decision and also on my letter.

“I just think presenting a considered argument is the only way to get the university to listen.

“I know LUU is separate from the university but the thing is that if clubs and other mass gatherings are allowed to go ahead, then why not a lecture theatre with 250 people.

“Arguably more important than club nights to many students is getting a decent education and online learning just doesn’t cut it.”

Lectures with over 50 students will be delivered online

A presentation given by the First Year Convenor confirmed that seminars, tutorials and labs will be in person, but lectures of over 50 students will continue to be delivered online. This has also been confirmed on the university’s coronavirus website, informing incoming freshers that teaching activities with high numbers of students will be mostly online as part of their hybrid approach.

With the university stating that “your health, safety and wellbeing is our top priority,” it seems contradictory that the Student’s Union club night, Fruity’s are to host 5 events back to back in June, but the university are unable to host lectures or exams in-person next year.

This is not the first time in the previous week that a UoL student has set up an Open Letter. George Sykes, another University of Leeds student has written an open letter to the Universities Minister asking for in-person lectures next year.

George told the The Leeds Tab: “I decided to write the open letter after I read on several student groups that universities were planning on keeping some modules online, even after the pandemic ends. As an autistic student, I have found working from home exceptionally difficult and know a lot of my peers feel the same.”

A poor reaction among the Leeds student community

One student raised this as a concern on LSG, replying that “this disproportionately effects students with learning disabilities… anyone know if the disability services are doing anything about this?”

Another student in LSG earlier commented on their disappointment in the university’s announcement.

“So I can go to Leeds fest next year but not to my lectures? This is absolute bullsh*t, this year has been impossible for so many people, why would they continue online learning when they don’t even need to?”

Others have discussed it as a method for cutting costs, with another commenting that “your 9k a year isn’t enough money for them to heat up the lecture rooms clearly.”

The poor reaction among the Leeds student community really shows students lack of support for the “blended learning” approach. The Leeds Tab spoke to Hannah, a first year student, who was frustrated that: “They’re opening Fruity (union club night) for 5 nights in June but won’t allow students to go to lectures? Speaks for itself.”

You can sign the petition here, and add yourself to the Open Letter here.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

University of Leeds has confirmed lectures and exams will be online next year
A UoL student has written an open letter to the Universities Minister asking for in-person lectures next year
Fruity just announced it’s hosting five events in one week after restrictions end

Want to write for us? Join the team, no experience required. DM us via @TheTab_Leeds on Instagram or The Tab Leeds on Facebook.